Richie Grant setting pace for Falcons rookies on defense

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Caption
Central Florida defensive back Richie Grant took part in the Falcons' rookie mini-camp on May 14, 2021.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Falcons safety Richie Grant, who was taken in the second round (40th overall) of the NFL draft, has moved around from free safety to strong safety in the team’s rookie minicamp, which wraps up Sunday.

ExploreRichie Grant's impressions from minicamp

“This is my passion,” said Grant, who played at Central Florida. “I love getting on that green grass. Being able to make calls and command the defense, things like that. It went a little fast (Friday). I think that was on purpose, intentionally to see how we practice and how we react to situations like that.”

Grant said that the rookie defensive backs have been working together to learn the defensive playbook.

“We all have been doing a good job as DBs, quizzing each other,” Grant said. “Going over things. Any questions that we have, communicating those to the coach to make sure that we are good on defense and certain calls.”

Grant said he would play free safety after he was drafted, but he’s now fine with moving around.

“Yeah, you’re going to be lined up in a lot of different spots,” Grant said. “We’ve been moving around a lot, learning different spots. I’m trying to stay as versatile as possible.”

Defensive lineman Ta’Quon Graham, who was taken in the fifth round (148th overall), also has been moving around the defense.

“Honestly, I’ve kind of been lining up all over the place,” Graham said. “Playing a lot of different shades and techniques. I was just trying to learn all of the information. Learn more than one spot. Try to be versatile, and I’m just trying to get everything that I need to get down.”

At 6-foot-3, 282 pounds, Graham likely is headed for defensive end in the Falcons’ 3-4 base alignment.

“I don’t feel like they need to teach me how to play all of these different techniques because I’ve had some kind of background playing all those different techniques,” said Graham, who played in 48 games and made 24 starts at Texas. “I feel like they can just plug me in anywhere and coach me up on whatever they need to coach me up on like the specifics of the defense. We can pretty much roll from there.”

Graham said things the Falcons are teaching translates from his days at Texas.

“Actually, a lot of it translates, playing a little bit four-under and three-technique, some other shades that haven’t really played that much, but I’m definitely familiar with everything that we’ve been playing,” Graham said. “I’m just excited to be here. I’m just learning the specifics of the defense. I’m trying to get all these things down.”

Graham has six career sacks at Texas.

“My mindset is that I can rush the passer from where ever,” Graham said. “I’ve got pretty good experience with that. I’m just here to learn. I’m here to become a better player. A better pass rusher. I feel like I can do it from any technique.”

Cornerback Darren Hall, who was drafted in the fourth round (108th overall) out of San Diego State, was a standout during the open practice Friday. Practice was closed Saturday.

“It felt good,” Hall said. “I was in the right place at the right time. I’ve been trying to learn the playbook here. Take the right drops. Learning the position. Just doing everything I can to make a play for our team.”

Hall said that the Falcons’ system will totally new for him.

“It’s a whole new playbook,” Hall said. “A whole new system, so I’m just trying to get at it every day. Get better every day.”

Hall also has been moving around the defense.

“I’m playing corner and nickel,” Hall said. “That’s just what we have going on right now because we only have three corners. Just taking it all in right now. Just doing everything that I can to stay in the playbook and be able to go out there stay at both positions and play them well.”

Hall doesn’t have a preference.

“I feel comfortable at both, Hall said. “I’m just learning both. … If they need me at corner, I’ll play corner. If they need me at nickel, I’ll play the nickel. I’m just learning it all and making sure that I’m ready.”

Hall and Grant have been working together.

“I’ve followed him before,” Hall said. “We got here to camp, and we’ve talked little bit. Just all of us as (defensive backs) have really brought into gelling together and working well together. Trying to get our communications down. Just be able to talk to each other. It’s going real well.”

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