7 Senior Bowl prospects the Lions should watch on defense

Marvin Wilson, Florida State Seminoles (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Marvin Wilson, Florida State Seminoles (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /
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Richie Grant, UCF Knights
Richie Grant, UCF Knights (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Richie Grant, S – UCF

You’ve probably already read countless stories about Brad Holmes finding diamonds in the rough, especially later in the draft. Last year there was Jordan Fuller and prior to that was John Johnson III who has developed into one of the leaders on the Rams’ defense.

With both of these picks, Holmes’ evaluated their on-field ability to surpass some limitations in their traits and allow other teams to overlook them. I could see a similar style player in safety Richie Grant from UCF.

Grant is slightly undersized at 6-foot-0 and 200 pounds, and whilst he accelerates well he doesn’t necessarily have elite range. Matched with a lack of length he certainly isn’t as toolsy as Ifeatu Melifonwu or the next player on our watch list.

But Grant is highly efficient in his breaks and has solid instincts which result in him often being around the football. He also plays bigger than his listed size and is a proficient tackler who’s very willing to come down in the box and lay the wood.

Grant also has been a do-it-all safety and has snaps at single-high, deep half, and down in the box. He probably excels in deep coverage but definitely has the flexibility to mix it down inside the box which is a huge asset.

What jumps out on screen is Grant’s ability to make impact plays on the football. His interception numbers are impressive but he also has five forced fumbles over his career and 17 passes defended often by baiting the quarterback into a throw.

This week in Mobile I want to see how sticky Grant is in man coverage and see if he can continue to force incompletions when in phase with receivers. Without great length, this could be a concern if you’re asking him to man up often especially against tight ends.

Positional flexibility is key for defensive backs this week as we are unsure of the system that Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn will install, but Richie Grant has a very rounded positional skillset that I am confident will translate to any system.