Sheldon Richardson Scouting Report

Sheldon Richardson NFL Draft


QB / RB / WR / TE / OT / OG / OC / DT / DE / OLB / ILB / CB / SAF
Prospect: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 290
Grade: 7.55X  (Grading Scale)

Scouting Report:

+Richardson has the ideal body type for a 4-3 Defensive tackle.
+He possesses outstanding quickness and lower body explosion out of his stance.
+Very quick first two steps, with the ability to beat the OL to the inside or slide across their face.
+Outstanding acceleration, can get up to top speed in two or three steps and explode through gaps.
+Can change direction quickly and with ease. Agile on his feet able to redirect and make sudden tackles.
+Has a quick spin move he uses to change direction as well as a swim.
+Richardson shows good playing strength and power.
+He converts his quickness to power both when getting off the block and tackling.
+Speed isn’t an issue (4.75?), he makes a lot of plays from behind and can run down the ball carrier from behind.
-Has battled a shoulder injury for much of his career and had surgery on it in 2012.
-Listed at 6’4″, appears to be closer to 6’3″.

vs. the Run
+Richardson is an explosive and quick 1 gap defender.
+Plays very aggressive and tries to make the play on every down.
+Accomplished the rare feat of being a DT who leads his team in tackles.
+Consistently the quickest off the ball with an explosive first step that allows him position in the hole.
+Can line up in a 3 or 5 technique and penetrate the corresponding gap.
+Creates disruption on seemingly every play with his ability to slant, stunt and shoot the gap. Gets into the backfield can change direction and run down the ball carrier.
+Makes a ton of tackles from behind or downfield due to his speed and ability to chase.
+Has developed an array of moves to get off blocks including a swim, rip and spin.
+Closing speed and burst is top notch. He’s a powerful tackler, often leaves his feet and tries to explode through the RB.
-Richardson will let his pads get too high if he doesn’t win with his initial quickness.
-Gets washed out of the gap and loses his gap responsibility too often.
-Known for a great motor and effort, but he does take a play off at times
-Struggles to anchor at times because he disregards his technique.
-Gets fooled by misdirection and overruns plays when he plays too fast.

Pass Rush Ability
+Has a very high ceiling as an interior pass rusher.
+Biggest asset is his combination of quickness and power.
+Explodes off the ball and gets through the line quickly.
+Has an incredible closing burst, is able to track down the QB in a matter of steps.
+Is so quick that it’s tough to get him squared up when blocking.
+Has a delayed swim move which is extremely sudden and powerful.
+Can rush from a multitude of positions including 3 tech, 5 tech and 4-3 Defensive End.
+Can push the pocket and get penetration with a bull-rush and then disengage with swim or rip when near the passer.
+Will be used on twists and loops consistently in the NFL, which will make him a nightmare to pick up.
+Displays a powerful and active lower body when rushing, keeps his lower body working and wears down OL in 1 on 1 battles.
-As when playing the run, loses gap discipline at times due to his focus on getting to the ball.
-Will overrun the QB creating a pocket to step up in.

+Makes a ton of plays by penetrating, finding the ball and chasing it down.
+First couple steps out of his stance are very sound. Has sideline to sideline range and speed.
+Splits gaps extremely well, getting position in the hole and using his power to rip through.
+Disengages well with a well developed complement of rush moves.
+When playing on the edge he can maintain outside leverage and force RB back inside.
+Quick and powerful footwork, makes hims ideal 1 gapper.
-Shows a lack of interest and concentration at times on the field.
-Pads pop up too often, able to get away with it due to his quickness, but won’t in NFL.
-Gap discipline and responsibility could become a problem.
-Would like to see him anchor better vs. double teams.
-Will turn his shoulders instead or staying square which gives the OL and angle and leverage to push out of the play.

+Has good awareness on the field.
+Relentless motor on most plays
+Is able to recognize and react quickly to plays.
+Forced a number of fumbles by punching at loose ball.
+By all accounts worked hard off the field between Sophomore and Junior season to shed weight and get in top condition.
-In the classroom it has been a problem for Richardson. It was a struggle just to get on campus.
-Failed to qualify out of HS and took him over two years to get on campus.
-During his Junior year he was suspended for not going to class.
-Has had more than one violation of team rules which is a definite red flag.
-Richardson has also battled a shoulder injury which forced him to have it operated on and missed some time from it.

Richardson is arguably the most talented interior defensive linemen in the 2013 NFL Draft. His rare combination of power, quickness and explosion allows him to create disruption on every play. He has the ability to play a couple different positions on the DL. Should be able to rush the passer and penetrate no matter where he is lined up. When used on slants and stunts Richardson is almost impossible to block one on one. Quite simply he is an explosive play-maker.

Whether it’s getting into the backfield and blowing up a run, forcing an errant throw by the QB or chasing down the RB from the backside, Richardson makes his presence felt. His game is based off of disruption and penetration. Off the field Richardson has been hurt by poor grades, lack of interest in classes and failure to follow team policy. While his on the field ability is likely to get him drafted in the top 15 he is not without some risk.

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