The UCF Safety Fits a Big Need for Washington
Updated: Apr 19, 2021
By Adam Aniba
Draft Prospect Spotlight; Richie Grant
The situation at free safety for Washington has been a disaster since the death of Sean Taylor. After Landon Collins went down with a season ending achilles tendon injury, rookie Kamren Curl stepped up and by season's end, was viewed as the future starter at SS. It's unclear how Collins will fit into the mix after he returns, but FS is once again a major position of need heading into offseason. Fans don't want to go through another off season pondering how Troy Apke is still on the roster or if special teams standout and backup FS Deshazor Everrett will be forced into a starting role again.
At selection #19 Washington could go in a myriad of directions, which could also include trading back. In this case, a safety prospect who's been viewed as a fringe 2nd round pick, could be in play. He saw his stock rise after the Senior Bowl could be exactly what WFT's defensive backfield is missing. Today's Draft Prospect Spotlight is on Richie Grant.
1st-2nd Round Grade | S | UCF
Height: 6 feet, 1 1/2 inches
Wingspan: 76 inches
Arm length: 30 inches
Hand size: 9 1/2 inches
Career Stats (46 games) 290 total tak (189 solo), 11.5 TFL, 1 sack, 10 ints, 1 td, 17 PD, 4 and 5 FF
2020 72 total tak (49 solo), 1 sack, 3 ints 5 PD, 2 forced rec and 2 FF
Tale of the Tape
* Doesn't bite on misdirection plays
* Ideal single high safety who rarely lets the ball get behind him
* Very good combination of size and athleticism for a cover safety (built like a SS)
* Very good wrap-up-tackler who relies on sound technique
* Field leader who knows how to direct traffic, with coverage breakdowns
* Elite understanding of tackling angles
* Fluid backpedal and transitions smoothly out of his breaks
* Can cover the X, Z, Slot and is interchangeable at all DB positions when needed
* Showed he can be effective playing close to line
Fit in Washington
UCF FS Richie Grant is a prospect that opened eyes during Senior Bowl practices, recording 2 ints during 11 on 11s. He looked like the most instinctive defensive back on the field and is just scratching the surface of his ability. As was the case at UCF, his ability to always be around the ball and run stride for stride with receivers make him a safety that will likely be on Washington's radar. Grant's stock is surely on the rise in a week where he measured bigger than expected and showed NFL coaches why he belongs in the discussion as the top cover safety in this draft class.
Grant's strength lies in playing single high coverage, but he also displayed the toughness to hold his own in the box. As a blitzer off the edge, Grant had 2 FF in 2020 and seems to have perfected his version of the "Peanut Punch". He plays violent and has the size to get even better on the next level as an enforcer.
The UCF safety had multiple roles in the Knights' defensive backfield, covering WR's, TE's and RB's. Grant even saw time at slot corner, but his ability to man centerfield makes him an ideal prospect for DC Jack Del Rio's scheme. When looking for a safety that excels in coverage and run support, Grant should be a top 50 target for Rivera.
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*Draft grades cross referenced with TDN