18 Jul Preseason Scouting Notes: Richie Grant, S, UCF
Redshirt Senior | 6’0” | 194 lbs | Fort Walton Beach, FL | First Team All-AAC
A very good athlete, Richie Grant flies around the field in coverage with impressive foot speed, change of direction ability, and agility.
Adept at reading the QB’s eyes in zone with the awareness to feel the routes around him and squeeze passing lanes as receivers go by. Good aggressiveness to re-route defenders and pass them off when playing underneath. Can anticipate and break on routes before the ball is thrown and displays very good range with track speed, running hard to cover ground quickly. He tends to drop too deep in coverage, over-relying on his speed. His aggressive nature can allow him to be baited by fakes and vacate his zone. Can be caught watching the QB’s eyes and lose track of the receiver in deep coverage which can allow him to be beaten over the top.
Often asked to play in man coverage in the slot. Grant possesses the change of direction ability to mirror and stays on the hip of his man well. Shows good timing to break on the ball, reaching another gear to fly in front of the pass. While he does not have the best hands to come down with INTs, he squeezes the window quickly and often gets a hand on the ball. Sticks with his man well on scramble drills and can make plays late.
Against the Run:
Reads the run quickly and is very willing to come up in run support. Shows good ability to flow through traffic and has the change of direction ability to avoid blockers. Can be hesitant to tackle bigger RBs and can rush when coming downhill hard, leading to missed tackles. He breaks down well and makes solid tackles when he is the last line of defense.
Grant could thrive as a FS or Nickel at the next level, with the range to play in single high coverage and the change of direction ability and aggressiveness to play man in the slot. He can focus too much on the QB’s eyes and can be overenthusiastic as a tackler, but his break timing and speed make him an intriguing prospect.
What to look for in 2020:
Can he develop better hands? In 2018, Grant recorded 6 INTs, tied for 2nd best nationally. However that number regressed to just 1 INT in 2019. With several drops on film, some time on the jug machine may help him bounce back to a gaudy interception total in 2020.
Grant’s versatility and range will make him an asset at the next level. His spotty mental errors and inconsistent tackling will likely push him out of 1st round contention. Look for him to go in the late 2nd to early 3rd round.