Safety is a position in the 2021 NFL Draft that is considered to be shallow in terms of the first-round talent.
Trevon Moehrig of TCU is considered to be the one safety that could go on Day One this year, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any more impact safeties in the draft.
One player who could be an impact add on Day Two is University of Central Florida safety Richie Grant.
In five years spent in college, Grant worked himself up from a no-name recruit to being one of the better defensive backs in the country.
Emerging as a full-time starter in 2018, Grant would have the best season of his career. He led the AAC in interceptions with six, along with recording 108 total tackles and two forced fumbles.
That was good enough at the time for Pro Football Focus (PFF) to rank him as the sixth-best safety in college football in 2018.
Both his numbers and rating took a dip in 2019 though. That year he only had one interception, 30 fewer tackles and PFF had him down to the 214th ranked safety in the country.
Grant bounced back for his redshirt senior season in 2020.
Last season, he finished with 72 tackles, a sack, and three interceptions in only nine games, and was rated as the 19th best safety by PFF.
Grant also was a unanimous first-team All-AAC selection and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe award, along with Moehrig and Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
Grant has played a number of roles in his safety spot, having experience in single-high sets and also playing in the box.
That’s contributed to his reputation as a solid tackler despite being slightly undersized at 6-feet and 194 pounds.
Scouts also note his high-level processing speed on plays, such that he’s been able to break on the ball without even looking at the quarterback.
Grant's physical profile comes with questions, considering his aforementioned size and not having top-line speed. He’ll also be 24 in November, presenting questions on how high his ceiling will be once he’s in the NFL.
Considering that, he’s still shown the chops to be a real catalyst for a defense, something that shouldn’t see him go any lower than the third round.
The Las Vegas Raiders could use a catalyst like that on their defense, and with a potential hole at safety in 2021, Grant could be a logical fit.
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