The Dallas Cowboys will be forced to address the secondary in a major way this offseason. Adding talent for defensive coordinator Dan Quinn needs to be a priority in order for the Cowboys to truly compete in 2021.

Cornerback Richard Sherman has been mentioned as a veteran for the Cowboys to target in free agency. Safeties Keanu Neal and Malik Hooker have also been mentioned as possibilities for Dallas. Caleb Farley and Patrick Surtain II are considered to be top options through the draft.

Either way, the Cowboys will have a couple of different routes to address the defensive backfield. Trevon Diggs showed promise and Anthony Brown is an experienced starter, but there is a lot of work to be done.

UCF safety Richie Grant presents the Cowboys with an intriguing option in the draft.

Richie Grant
Dec 23, 2019; Tampa, Florida, USA; Central Florida Knights defensive back Richie Grant (27) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

UCF had a talented defensive back tandem in 2020 with both safety Richie Grant and cornerback Aaron Robinson starting in the secondary. Both Golden Knights products turned heads at the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl, and both have established themselves as legitimate day-two targets for the Dallas Cowboys.

Grant, in particular, made himself some money while in Mobile. He was mentioned among the best performers after each practice seemingly every day. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound defensive back impressed against playmaking receivers from around the country all week in front of NFL evaluators.

Grant caught The Athletic‘s Dane Brugler’s eye while in Mobile. Brugler said that the talented Grant “was all over the field” while showcasing his impressive range and speed in each Senior Bowl practice.

Each practice, Grant was all over the field, showing off his range and play speed. He had a handful of interceptions throughout the week, doing receiver-like things at the catch point and taking advantage of every opportunity thrown his way. And even when he did surrender a completion, he continued ball-searching to the ground, sometimes prying the ball out.

Brugler added that he expects the Fort Walton Beach native to be a top-50 draft pick when April arrives:

I really liked Grant’s film from the season, stamping him with a third-round grade and including him on my top-100 draft board. But seeing him up close this week, I was a round off — there is no reason he shouldn’t be a top-50 pick on draft weekend.

It is clear that Grant left the Senior Bowl a lot richer than he was prior to the week down in Mobile, Alabama. Grant’s stock is soaring during an unusual pre-draft process, and many people are taking notice.

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Cowboys starting safety Xavier Woods is set to hit free agency this offseason, and it doesn’t sound like a sure thing that the 2017 sixth-round pick will be back in Dallas next season. That means that there will likely be a need next to Donovan Wilson in the secondary.

Grant would provide Dan Quinn and the Cowboys a dynamic and versatile defensive back with the ability to play a number of different roles. He was used all over the secondary during his collegiate career in Orlando, and he showcased his playmaking skills at the Senior Bowl — something Dallas desperately needs on the defensive side of the ball.

There was a point in time where it seemed like the Cowboys could wait until the third-round to target Grant, but his week in Mobile means Dallas will have to pull the trigger earlier. Richie Grant needs to be in serious consideration for the Cowboys’ 44th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Featured image via Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports