Richie Grant - Safety, UCF
By the numbers:
5'11", 200 pounds per Senior Bowl measurements.
2020: 72 tackles (3.5 for loss), five passes broken up, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a sack in nine games played.
Richie Grant is one of the better athletes among all defensive backs in this year's draft class. He possesses true sideline-to-sideline range with explosive acceleration and good long-speed. This not only allows him to cover ground as a single-high or split-zone safety, but he can check running backs and keep up with some of them in man coverage.
Grant has great ball skills, can disrupt plays and goes after the ball instead of the receiver. This risky strategy pays off because of his closing speed and active hands at the potential catch point. Grant is also a willing tackler who packs a punch for someone who isn't a big safety by any means.
One additional thing Grant offers NFL teams is being scheme-diverse. He's likely a free safety at the next level but with that said, he can comfortably work in the slot. He can even play in the box when needed due to his efforts in run defense and physical nature.
Grant is a quick player but sometimes, he plays too fast for his own good. He can overrun potential tackling angles and he gambles a bit in the secondary when attacking the ball. These aren't major concerns but at the professional level, teams will capitalize on mistakes more often than not.
If Grant can learn to control the sporadic chaos in his game, it will make him a more complete player. His athleticism covers up for missed reads and assignments in coverage, as he looked a bit out of place at times in college. His margin for error won't be nearly as wide moving forward.
It's also worth noting that Grant will turn 24 years old about halfway through his rookie season. That isn't ancient by general NFL standards but for rookies, it's on the older side. Grant's room to grow may not be as high as that of his peers.
How Grant fits with the Chiefs:
The positional need may be present here. It depends on whether Daniel Sorensen returns or signs elsewhere. Adding another quality athlete with versatility would be a plus for the Chiefs on defense and may cause a ripple effect. Since Grant can move around the field and fill different roles, he would allow some other players (Tyrann Mathieu, Juan Thornhill, L'Jarius Sneed) to do the same. His fit with the Chiefs is good.
Grant is a playmaker with a winning attitude and even if his switchable potential isn't put to the test in the NFL, he could become a productive free safety. He has some kinks in his game that need to be ironed out but luckily for him, the foundation is already more than solid. He grades out as a second-round talent due to his fit with the Chiefs and overall potential, even if it isn't star-level.