The Atlanta Falcons drafted UCF safety Richie Grant and Michigan guard Jaylen Mayfield Friday night, adding needed pieces to the roster.
Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees has to be ecstatic with the addition of Richie Grant and Matt Ryan is somewhere with the ice cubes smiling from ear to ear.
Grant is a three-time first-team All-AAC and led the team in tackles with 72. Adding to his impressive resume, he finished his career with 11.5 tackles for loss, 10 interceptions, five forced fumbles, and 17 pass deflections.
This is a guy that can do it all and will prove to be a great asset to a team that desperately needs a playmaker in the defensive backfield.
The addition of Grant fills an important need for the Atlanta Falcons
With the loss of Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee in the off-season, safety was needed to fill the gap. Grant had an impressive career at UCF and should make an immediate impact for the Atlanta Falcons.
He will more than likely play the free safety role on defense, while Jaylin Hawkins could be the day one started at strong safety.
For a team that gave up the most passing yards per game last season, any type of upgrade in the defensive backfield is more than welcome. Grant should fit nicely in a new scheme alongside fellow young players such as A.J. Terrell and Kendall Sheffield.
Mayfield could be an important part of protecting Matt Ryan
Mayfield was taken by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round and should fill in at the guard position. With his size, 6’5″ and 320 pounds, he should be able to help protect Ryan consistently. Protecting Ryan has been a struggle for the offensive line the last couple of seasons, so Mayfield will be an upgrade, although he may not be immediate.
He may not have as much experience starting as other linemen in the draft, but he has the ability to bully opposing lineman and should be able to do in the NFL as he gains more experience, confidence, and improves his footwork.
Overall, the draft should be viewed as a great success.