Chris Trapasso, CBSSports.com
- Round 2 Grade: A+
Analysis: Favorite pick of the second round so far. Grant is capable of anything you need out of your safety in today's NFL. Super-twitchy. Very experienced and can legitimately cover the slot. Good tackler too. Atlanta needed this type of defensive back.
- Round 3 Grade: B
Analysis: Mayfield battles hard and has positional flexibility. A tick clunky but locks out vs. bull rushes and initial burst is good. Smart pick for the Falcons at this stage of Matt Ryan's career.
Chad Reuter, NFL.com
- Grade: A+
Analysis: The Falcons swapped a sixth-round pick for a mid-fourth-round selection by trading down five spots with the Broncos early in Round 2. And they still found a much-needed new member of the secondary in Grant, who can hit, run, cover and tackle. Mayfield is a great third-round pick for the Falcons, who badly needed O-line depth and found a powerful blocker who should shift inside from tackle quite nicely.
With the 40th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select safety Richie Grant from UCF.
Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic
- Round 2 Grade: B
Analysis: There might not be a better "plug and play" safety in the draft. Grant (6 feet, 197 pounds) started 33 games in college and had seven forced fumbles to go along with 10 interceptions. He lined up both at free safety and in the box. The question with Grant is whether he has a lot of room to grow. He'll turn 24 in November and is not considered a great athlete. But he fills a need for Atlanta, and the Falcons picked up a fourth-round pick by moving down five spots before taking Grant. He is a solid pick here.
- Round 3 Grade: B
Analysis: All 15 of Mayfield's college starts came at right tackle, but he could swing inside to guard in the NFL. Mayfield (6-foot-5, 326) missed four games last year due to injuries. He had a relatively small body of work but offers upside as a quality starter. This is a fine pick by Atlanta.
PFF Staff, Pro Football Focus
- Round 2 Grade: Above Average
Analysis: The fourth-best safety on PFF's Big Board, Richie Grant had exceptional run-defense grades in college and was a stud during the one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl in coverage, flashing the potential to be an all-around player at the next level. Grant has excellent numbers across the board and is an outstanding overall football player, but he was selected with TCU's Trevon Moehrig — PFF's top safety — still on the board.
- Round 3 Grade: Below Average
Analysis: Mayfield was garnering first-round consideration at one point. That might paint this as a value pick, but Mayfield's 144th ranking on PFF's Big Board still shows it as a reach. Mayfield's upside was supposed to be his physical tools. However, his Pro Day didn't show much in the way of that to get excited about. Mayfield will likely compete for the starting left guard spot in Atlanta — the lone hole on the team's line right now.
With the 68th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield from Michigan.
Mel Kiper, ESPN
- Grade: Winner
Round 2 Analysis: Grant is one of my favorite prospects in this class, and he's so versatile that he could play as a deep safety or as a box safety. The Falcons gave up a franchise record in passing yards (4,697) and passing touchdowns (34) in 2020, and taking Grant is a step toward improvement.
Round 3 Analysis: Mayfield, meanwhile, is my sixth-ranked tackle, and Atlanta got him about 20 spots lower than I thought he'd go. He's only 20 years old -- he's going to need some time before he's a quality NFL starter -- but he does have some traits that intrigued scouts. Could he move inside to guard as a rookie while learning both positions? I like Mayfield's potential.