Building a winning culture is all about finding players who want to win and finding players who show on film that football is important to them. The question is: Is University of Central Florida safety Richie Grant one of those players?
As a general rule of thumb, every player in the National Football League is either big or fast or both. However, the number of players who actually "want it" is far more scarce.
The greater number of players a team can find who show on film that football is important to them, the better. Bill Parcells had a list of characteristics he looked for in players, and that was one of them. He called those characteristics the "critical factors of scouting."
This may sound sort of funny because all the players play the game. But, not nearly as many actually play like the game is important to them. Not as many players go all-out and all-in.
The key is to have as many guys as possible on the team who show that football is important to them.
The Athletic had the following to say about Grant:
"With Grant, too, there would be value in versatility. He’s shown the ability — and, my word, the instincts — to play deep. He’s also been a force down in the box, and UCF asked him to play a bunch over the slot. If Tracy Walker is what everyone outside of the previous coaching staff thinks he can be, the Lions could be very diverse in their DB packages with he and Grant together."
There is no question Grant does have it in him to be a knockout safety, and a pretty good portion of the time he is about knocking out the opponent.
There is no question Grant has all the tools and all the ability. But, the concern is the number of times -- and the noticeable amount of times -- he was caught on film going half speed on plays that were still going on, and needless to say, the last thing the Lions need are any more underachievers.
However, Grant would instantly be Detroit's best safety, if the team selected him -- weaknesses aside. He flashes a lot of special ability. In fact, he flashes true difference-making ability.
S Richie Grant (based on film from 2020 action against Cincinnati, Houston and Memphis)
6'0, 194 pounds (4.53 40-yard dash time at pro day, per NBC Sports)
Grade: B- (Good player, but not elite; he's good enough to win with, however)
Kelly's draft board: Fourth round
Physical, athletic and fast-looking safety, with an aggressive nature. But, has questionable instincts in coverage, and takes questionable angles at times. Plays a lot faster than his 40 time. Disruptive force to be reckoned with a good amount of the time. Brings a presence, in the mold of Jamal Adams. Rolls down in the box as a high-impact, sledge-hammer hitter and hard-wrapping tackler.
Physical run support. Can come downhill in a hurry, and he has great range. Capable of chasing things down from behind. Has blitzing upside. Can close hard into the pocket. Good player in the box. Can scream in off edge and drop the running back like Landon Collins (WSH). Does have some noticeable tightness in his hips that shows up in space when he misses tackles and does not have things lined up right.
Able to drop into zone coverages and provide tight man coverage against backs and tight ends -- when he can keep the play in front of him. Capable of breaking up passes. However, tends to be late in arriving with help over the top in the deep halves. Does appear to be a tad slow reacting at times or takes a bad angle occasionally. Subtle, but it is consistently noticeable when studying the full body of his work. Questionable instincts, especially in coverage when providing help.
Sometimes goes all out in support, and sometimes dogs it. Emotional and visibly fiery. Has some edge and attitude. Seen getting up on opponents and jawing at times. Productive player with upside, who has the skill set and mentality to play on special teams coverage units, as well.
Grant was a two-star recruit who ended up playing for UCF. One would think he would have been a shoe-in star safety at LSU, USC or Alabama, either as a recruit or a transfer. I mean he easily has that kind of raw skill set. That needs to be looked at because scouting is like conducting an investigation.
There is no question Grant has everything it takes. But again, the occasional bad angle, the inability to provide timely deep help over the top in the deep halves and the times where he dogs it are very concerning to me.
The apparent lack of instincts and looking out of position at times are concerning to me, as well.
This is exactly the type of guy who is going to shine in all the drills on pro day, and teams will over inflate his draft day value as a result.
Grant is an easy player to fall in love with, but just as in relationships, there are also some noticeable red flags that should not be ignored. Remember, the film never lies.
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