The Las Vegas Raiders badly need a reliable, young safety. Luckily for them, this year’s class has many enticing options. Among these options is UCF’s Richie Grant. While he is not perfect, he may be highly coveted by head coach Jon Gruden and the team’s brass.
One of the very first things that you notice about Grant on tape is his confidence. As one of the most integral members of the UCF defense, he is involved in a lot of tackles. After each one of these, he is sure to be talking trash to the ball carrier. This not only gets in the offense’s heads, but it keeps his energy level high as well.
Not just a loud voice, Grant has a knack for coming down with the football. In his three years as a full-time player, he was able to snag ten interceptions, including six in 2018. This ball-hawking ability is a role the Raiders badly need to be filled. He does this in a variety of ways as well, lining up in the slot or deep in “centerfield”.
In addition, Grant does not have the size concerns that come with many other versatile safeties in this class. At 6’0″ and 197 pounds, he has a perfectly fine build and is plenty athletic. After running a 4.49 40 yard dash and jumping broad jump of ten feet, the UCF product only built on his standout Senior Bowl performance.
Richie Grant made this play from the opposite hash. Just reads Smith’s eyes and cuts off the route for the interception pic.twitter.com/Vnrigp3FGP
— Joe Broback (@joebroback) October 7, 2020
Some cause for concern when it comes to Richie Grant
While Grant shows great effort and willingness to attempt tackles, he often takes poor angles on his way there. This causes him to miss on the play entirely, something Raiders fans have seen far too often. The effort and desire are there though, so it seems likely that he should be able to improve in this area.
Grant is also on the older side for a draft prospect, as he will be 24 in November. While this is not a death knell for him, it does hurt his stock. A portion of his best years have already happened, and his NFL career will undoubtedly be shorter than expected.
Richie Grant would be the perfect fit for the Raiders
Despite the age concerns, the Raiders should absolutely make the UCF standout the selection if he is there at 48. His talent, effort, and confidence translate easily to a defense that needs all three. From day one he would be the best free safety on the Raiders roster and that is worth selecting even if he is a year or two older than you would like. Grant fits the Raiders perfectly and would fill a much-needed role in Gus Bradley’s defense.
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