April 26, 2003

Cie Grant - Outside Linebacker, Ohio State University

Cie Grant
Outside Linebacker, Ohio State University

6'0" 3/8, 228 pounds, 4.53/40

Eighty-sixth pick overall, Third Round

One of the most versatile players in the draft, Grant played cornerback and some linebacker for the 2002 national champion Ohio State Buckeyes, and projects in the NFL to either weakside linebacker or strong safety. For the Saints, where there is a need for strong safety, that appears to be the position he is headed for.

As an OLB/CB hybrid, Grant beefed up to 230 pounds, about 10 pounds more than his normal playing weight. A great coverage player considering his history at cornerback and should the Saints move him to strong safety, he will only be held back by the learning curve. Moved from outside linebacker to cornerback through his career but was a two-year starter.

No medical problems. He missed one game in 2002 with a knee sprain but it is not a concern. No off-field issues. Tremendous work ethic. Team leader. Tremendous athlete. 350-pound bench press, 480-pound squat. Outstanding 36-inch vertical. Big hands.

"Definitely a versatile guy. Could play much like Chris Oldham did for the Saints a few years ago, or he just might be good enough to start by mid-season. More range than Ohio State's more highly regarded safety, Mike Doss. Playmaker. Great blitzer. Just needs some coaching and guys like this who don't have a set position tend to slip. He's a third rounder by no fault of his own and he probably belonged in the second."

"He can flat out fly. Tremendous athlete, good strength, balance, flexibility physical ability. More of a physical player, needs coaching. Excellent timing. Makes big plays. Obviously you saw that in the national championship game. Projects well to weakside. One of the best coverage linebackers in the draft. Really flies. Lots of upside as a special teamer. Needs reps. High upside. The biggest thing is him shedding his blocks and using his hands better. Will allow the Saints to do a lot of different things."

It's the third consecutive year the Saints have taken an outside linebacker in the third round, but Grant may end up at strong safety. If not, he projects to a good cover weakside linebacker. Was an excellent value for the Saints, especially if he becomes a contributor right away in the defense. The Saints chose him over other prospects such as Virginia ILB Angelo Crowell, Tennessee DB Julian Battle, Colorado CB Donald Strickland, LSU ILB Bradie James, TCU ILB LaMarcus McDonald, and SMU CB Kevin Garrett.

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