2nd Round, Pick 44
Richie Grant, SAF, UCF
Will the Cowboys finally fix their free safety hole this draft? Potentially, it might take an offensive tackle and edge defender to fall off the board in order for this to become reality. Fortunately, in this mock, we landed in the best timeline. The Central Florida safety is a three-year starter and by far one of the more productive players in a deep, but not top-heavy, safety class.
Grant displays the necessary range to be successful at the next level displaying good instincts and solid athletic ability to overlap and match routes. With 10 interceptions and 17 pas deflections to his name, he displays good ball skills with the ability to catch passes at different angles.
With good lateral quickness and acceleration, Grant displays the ability to play man coverage against slot receivers with the ability to mirror their footwork at the line of scrimmage and through their route stem. Natural coverage ability isn’t an issue for Grant who displays consistent instincts and football IQ to play in the middle 1/3rd of a defense.
Grant isn’t the best run defender allowing blockers to drive him away from the play or displaying poor pursuit angles near the box but don’t mistake this for his ability to tackle in the backfield as he’s accumulated 290 total tackles in his four years in Orlando. At 6-feet, 190 pounds Grant displays comfort in the ability to tackle players bigger than him displaying good physical toughness and solid play strength.
Grant, in a defense with Donovan Wilson, Jaycee Horn, Trevon Diggs, and Anthony Brown now looks a whole lot different than last year’s squad. It will certainly have its fair share of rookie mistakes, but you’d be hardpressed to find a defensive backfield with more potential in years to come across the entire league.