The Atlanta Falcons traded the No. 35 and No. 219 picks to the Denver Broncos in exchange for the No. 40 and 114 overall picks and selected safety Richie Grant.
Known for his ability to make plays on the ball, Grant had 10 interceptions over his last 34 games at UCF and recorded five career forced fumbles.
Grant, 23, fills an immediate need for the Falcons who were in need of more ball-hawking defenders in their secondary. He can play both free and strong safety, giving defensive coordinator Dean Pees options on how he feature Grant. One of the biggest positional needs for the Falcons heading into free agency was at safety. All three of Atlanta's starters from the 2020 season at the position signed with other teams. Veterans Erik Harris and Duron Harmon were added to the roster and give the Falcons depth at safety, but head coach Arthur Smith said in his pre-draft press conference no position is ever set.
"We don't ever look at paper, we signed these two guys, we're set," Smith said. "You draft this player, you're set. There's so many things that happen. You're constantly looking at the roster -- injuries happen, things happen that come up during the season, so you're constantly looking to improve. So that will be at any position we add."
During his four seasons as a Golden Knight, Grant tallied 290 tackles, 17 pass deflections and five forced fumbles.
Draft grade: A+
"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. " - Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports
With the 40th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select safety Richie Grant from UCF.