5 safeties to partner with Jeremy Chinn in the 2021 NFL Draft

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Jeremy Chinn
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Jeremy Chinn /
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(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Richie Grant
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Richie Grant /

Richie Grant – UCF

  • Projected round – mid to low second round
  • Projected role – free safety

The Good

Richie Grant was a true pursuer during his four seasons at UCF, no matter where the ball went he was right there hustling to it. Weaving his way through blockers with a patient attack and keeping big plays from turning into game-breakers.

One of the most important skills for a free safety is the ability to read the quarterback and see where he plans to throw the ball, a skill Grant has in droves. Watching the quarterback’s eyes and movement, rushing to wherever he needs to be.

With a quick twitch and great closing speed, the UCF star can use these instincts and turn to wherever the ball is going in a flash. No matter where he is on the field or who he was covering, once the ball is caught Grant is there to make a sure-handed tackle in open space.

That quick twitch and closing speed also allow Grant to thrive in the zone and with the ability to keep up with double moves both in coverage and against the run, he can be used in man as well without much worry of being burned.

However, where Grant truly excels is playing center field without any specific player to watch. A place where his instincts and speed can shine. Where he can close in on a deep ball and break up the pass or cause a turnover with secure hands.

In that center field role, Grant shows an impressive ability against both the run and the pass. Being that safety net deep that can either run up and lower the boom on a runner or contest a deep ball.

Even with a relative lack of highlights, Grant plays the safety position right. Consistency is the name of his game, keeping everything in front of him and supporting his teammates when he needs to, and it was clear the Carolina Panthers were impressed by what they saw after coaching him at the 2021 Senior Bowl.

The Bad

While watching Grant’s film there is very little that can be said against his game. His smaller stature being one, at only 6 feet and 194 pounds.

The only other thing the could be considered either good or bad is that Grant trusts his teammates. Which is a very admirable trait but can become a liability if you always think they will make the play.

Grant’s fit on the Carolina Panthers

Grant has all the skills to excel as a free safety at the next level and the speed and instincts to keep plays in front of him and limit the damage of a blown coverage or amazing pass.

With Jeremy Chinn playing up front against the run and Grant laying back to protect against the deep ball, the Carolina Panthers would have a true one-two punch for years to come.