The Falcons are going to be heavily reliant on their young players, particularly those from the 2021 draft class taking a significant step forward in their second season. Kyle Pitts is already one of the best tight ends in the game, and Ade Ogundeji looks to have the inside track at starting opposite Lorenzo Carter. But it’s not all roses.
Jalen Mayfield hasn’t looked great in camp after struggling mightily last season and might even lose his starting spot to Elijah Wilkinson. On a brighter note, though, the Falcons 2021 second-round pick — Richie Grant — is trending in the right direction.
Piecing together a bevy of reports coming out of Flowery Branch, it seems Grant has had the most success outside of AJ Terrell in coverage against Kyle Pitts, even recording an interception on Marcus Mariota earlier in the week.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 8, 2022
I was very high on Grant coming out of UCF and was overjoyed when Atlanta selected him in the second round. However, his rookie season was disappointing.
In his defense, Dean Pees’ system is incredibly complex and he was trying to learn two positions on the fly — traditional safety and nickel. Grant was on the field for only 23.5% of defensive snaps last season, including four games where he accumulated zero snaps on defense. He only surpassed 50% of defensive snaps in three games while playing in over three-quarters of all special teams snaps. A core special teamer isn’t what an organization is hoping for with a second-round pick.
The Falcons probably have high expectations for Grant, but it’ll be a huge disappointment and a massive wart on the regime if Grant doesn’t win one of the starting safety jobs. However, from the sound of things, the young defender will have the first crack at the starting lineup. He’s clearly impressing thus far in camp and is headed for a larger role in 2022.
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