As impressive as his junior numbers were, Grant played the “Can You Top This” game to the hilt in 2014. Quarterbacks were foolish to challenge him, as he not only rerouted/jammed receivers away from 20 passes, he allowed just 13 of 69 targeted tosses (18.84 percent) to be completed vs. him, as he ran back five interceptions for 106 yards and deflected nine other throws while producing 51 tackles for the Buckeyes.
Grant has a frame that shows good muscle tone and room for additional growth (can add another 10 pounds with no loss in speed). He maintains balance on the move and has good stop-and-go ability, along with displaying very quick footwork that helps him recover when beaten. He gets a great jump on the ball thanks to his ability to anticipate and react to the ball in flight, rather than try to sift out the ball through trash.
He instantly breaks on the ball and takes good angles to shorten the field in pursuit. His ability to generate a sudden burst allows him to get to the reception point. He has the ability to plant and drive back to the ball, staying low in his pads. He gets good hand placement on the receivers in plays in front of him. He is especially effective breaking down plays working in space.
Grant reads quarterbacks eyes well when asked to drop into zone coverage. He does a solid job of baiting the quarterback when defending vs. high-low routes in zone coverage. He’s tough and not afraid to get his jersey dirty and will not hesitate to close and take on bigger blockers, showing the escape skills to breaks when the ball is in front of him.
He possesses fluid hips and can turn and run with receivers. He also does a nice job of changing directions when mirroring receivers underneath, even though there are times when he allows too much separation coming out of breaks. He is a solid tackler who is not afraid to mix it up with physical ball carriers, but he needs to do a better job of shedding blocks working vs. bigger receivers.
Grant has quick feet to go with a compact and efficient backpedal. He can close quickly on passes in front of him and his pass thievery and timing prove that he has the ball skills to break up the pass and the hands to make the interception. He also fights through blockers with good urgency to make the tackle on screen passes and he has the ability to break up passes with hard hits, along with the speed to stay with the receiver all the way downfield.
What I like in this Buckeye is that he is not only strong and physical, but he’s a confident competitor who displays natural instincts for the game. His anticipation and route-recognition skills are above-average, and while he used to gamble and jump routes in attempts to make the big interception in the past, he is now more willing to be patient, doing a nice job reading the quarterback’s eyes to get into his drop and break quickly.
You can see similarities in his game to Asante Samuel, as he is very fluid in his backpedal and has those loose, natural hips to easily flip to turn and run with receivers down field. He shows good balance on the move, keeping his feet under him to make that quick-twitch transition out of his breaks.
With his quickness, Grant can explode out of his backpedal to close quickly on the ball in front of him. He has the ability to mirror and maintain proper position in man coverage and is aggressive with his press technique, demonstrating good form to jab and run with receivers.
As a pass thief, Grant does a very nice job of getting his head turned around in time and locating the ball when in deep coverage. He’s a natural hands catcher who can consistently come down with the routine interception, but also has the timing and elevation skills to make the acrobatic theft outside of his frame, as he knows how to extend and pluck when high-pointing the ball.
Grant does not have that six-foot-plus size and he will have some issues vs. bigger receivers, as he can be shielded. In run support, he uses hands well when taking on blocks, as evident by his Iron Buckeye Award. He has surprising strength and it is rare for bigger receivers to out-muscle him. Even when matching up vs. offensive linemen, he’s savvy enough and slippery enough to escape, doing a good job to keep outside contain and find ways to get the ball carrier down.
Doran Grant Scouting Combine measurables
5-10/200 (4.44 forty)
30 2/8-inch arm length
9 3/8-inch hands
21-reps bench 33-inch vertical jump
9-foot-8 broad jump
No 3 cone drill (right calf strain)
4.33 20 yard shuttle
No 60 yard shuttle (right calf strain)
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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