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Cowboys Draft: UCF Safety Richie Grant has Playmaking Ability

Not much went well for the in 2020, but they found out about several players on their roster that will continue to be a part of this club moving forward. One of those is , who further proved why the Cowboys needed to find a way to get him on the field. As good as Wilson is, he's more of a type, doing his best work within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. With heading to and unlikely to return, the Cowboys need to find someone to pair with Wilson at the safety position that compliments what Wilson does well. One such player that could fit with what would like to do in cover-3 is University of Central Florida Safety, .

Grant had an incredible career for UCF. He played 46 games over four seasons, hauling in 10 interceptions, including six in his sophomore season.

& Fumbles Table
Tack Tack Tack Tack Tack Def Def Def Def Def Fumb Fumb
Year Conf Class G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR FF
*2017 American FR 12 24 8 32 1.0 0.0 0 0 0 1 1 0
*2018 American SO 13 68 40 108 3.0 0.0 6 40 6.7 0 3 1 2
*2019 American JR 12 48 30 78 4.0 0.0 1 39 39.0 1 8 0 1
*2020 American SR 9 49 23 72 3.5 1.0 3 25 8.3 0 5 2 2
Career 189 101 290 11.5 1.0 10 104 10.4 1 17 4 5
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 1/29/2021.

Grant is a durable safety with the ability to play in single and two-deep high safety looks and provide coverage in the slot. He shows a willingness to come up in run support to make the and is willing to stick his nose into the play. Grant shows good range and good instincts. On crossing routes generally shows good awareness to sift through the traffic to stick with his guy in man coverage.

On a run play against Memphis in 2020, he worked off the to his contain, but as the play went up the middle, he was badly out of position, as was the rest of the defense. The Memphis runner was gone with no one in sight to bring him down. Richie Grant recovered and chased him down from behind, forced a fumble, which UCF recovered in the end zone for the touchback.

In that same game, Memphis had a second and goal from the two-yard line, and the was tackled but looked to have enough momentum to get into the end zone until Grant came up and lowered his shoulder to keep him out.

In the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bearkats, with UCF down 19-17, Grant made four straight plays that show off just what he could be for the Dallas Cowboys.

First, he's playing up near the line of scrimmage on first down, and the Bearkats run a dive play up the middle. Grant works inside and makes a sure, wrap up tackle for just a two-yard gain.

Then on second down, UCF is in a single-high, what appears to be Cover-3 look, but Grant is lined up in the slot as the strong safety and on the snaps drops to cover the curl-flat zone. Desmond Ridder rolls right after coverage takes away his first couple of reads, and Grant rolls with him in the zone. As he notices Ridder looking back to the middle, Grant flows against the grain with Ridder and can elevate to get both hands on the football en route to a attempting to sneak behind him in the zone. It's a near interception but shows impressive discipline to stay committed to his zone with the athletic Ridder rolling out.

On third down, Grant is in a two-deep safety alignment, which turns into a Tampa 2 drop. Ridder doesn't have anywhere to go with the football and scrambles. He picks up the first down and more as he's heading for the end zone. Grant reacts from the other side of the field and comes up and makes the tackle to prevent Ridder from crossing the goal line.

On the ensuing 1st and Goal play, Grant is lined up off the left end in the goal line formation. Cincinnati runs out shotgun away from Grant, and he's able to dart into the backfield to bring down the ball carrier for a loss.

UCF holds the Bearkats to a field goal after getting first and goal from the one and then score a touchdown to take the lead on their ensuing drive.

At the moment, it seems a lot of the draft community has him in the or so. It wouldn't surprise me to see him go as high as the second. Safeties with range and playmaking ability are valued in that 50-75 ranges. Before the , Grant was ranked number 89 on Dane Brugler's Top 100. With his performance in Mobile, Alabama, there's a good chance Grant works his way up many draft boards. If he's available for the Cowboys in the third round, they should be running to the virtual podium with his card.

Here are some of Richie Grant's highlights from Senior Bowl Week.

John Williams
John Williams
Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could. Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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