Rumors circled weeks before the 2021 NFL Draft that the Denver Broncos might be a trading partner with the Atlanta Falcons. That didn’t happen during the first round Thursday, but a trade between the two Super Bowl XXXIII opponents came to fruition early in the second round Friday.
The Falcons traded the No. 35 selection, the third pick of the second round, and the No. 219 overall selection to the Broncos. In return, the Falcons received the No. 40 and 114 overall picks.
With the No. 40 selection, the Falcons picked UCF safety Richie Grant.
Moving up five picks, Denver selected North Carolina running back Javonte Williams.
With this trade, the Falcons did not acquire anymore picks than they already had, but the Falcons will now have an additional selection early in the fourth round rather than a compensatory pick in the sixth round.
AllFalcons highlighted Richie Grant in February as a perfect match for a team with a gaping hole at safety and identified Grant as a possible target for the Falcons hours before the second round began Friday.
Standing at 6-feet tall and 197 pounds, Grant is a versatile safety who can “play deep or down safety and has decent man-cover ability against matchup tight ends according to NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein. He also wrote that Grant is “at his best as a high safety, where he has an overview of the field.”
Coming into the draft, the Falcons badly needed to address safety. They signed Duron Harmon and Erik Harris in free agency but released Keanu Neal, Ricardo Allen and Damontae Kazee this offseason.
At UCF, Grant posted 72 total tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 6 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles and a sack as a senior. For his college highlights, watch the video below: