2015 NFL Draft: Patriots Select Jordan Richards

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

After selecting Texas DT Malcom Brown in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Bill Belichick followed it up by making his annual head-scratcher of a pick with Stanford safety Jordan Richards.

Richards is an interesting prospect that fits Belichick’s mold as a warrior in the defensive backfield and on special teams. His leadership skills have been praised by scouts and media alike. His skill-set, however, isn’t that of a typical Top-100 defensive back.

His long speed is certainly a concern, but his instincts, ball skills and agility are able to blunt the issue somewhat. At just 5’11” and 215 pounds, Richards shows up remarkably well in run support.

Richards will see some stiff competition at safety with Pat Chung, Tavon Wilson and Duron Harmon already competing for snaps alongside Devin McCourty. It is also possible that he could see some time at cornerback.

Special teams will be a spot where Richards contributes immediately. His ability to track the ball, make open-field tackles and do the right thing in each situation will get him on the field.

Richards was pegged as a Day 3 pick by myself and pretty much the entire draft community. Belichick, however, doesn’t really care.

The Patriots have two picks remaining at the end of the third round, where needs along the offensive line and at the skill positions may see some attention.

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55 Responses to “2015 NFL Draft: Patriots Select Jordan Richards”

  1. matty says:

    Picking a strong safety is a good idea; Chung is expendable. But to pick him round 2 should mean he’s clearly better than Chung, or at least that he’ll be an upgrade to Chung in 2016.

  2. Barance says:

    The reactions to the pick of Richards are somewhat understandable. However if you look at the entire draft now that it is done it was a success I think. Every year whether we like it or not BB is going to overdraft a guy. I knew this was the case after they aced the first round with Malcom Brown. Why BB does it only he knows. If the other picks they made were lousy then this pick would look a lot worse. However there is no arguing with what they did in round four as being outstanding. For those of you pining away for Ifu he might never play football again due to his knee injury. Most of the other players mentioned as better than Richards are on paper but they all have some warts. A.J. Cann does not mover well and the Pats look for linemen who are athletic and can move out in space. I much prefer Jackson and Mason to Cann. This means the end of Tavon Wilson another major over reach. At least Richards was invited to the scouting combine. If you look at every teams drat there are cries of over reach, taken too early, etc. Based on the fact that the draft is at best a crap shoot lets just wait and see what happens.

  3. rdf63 says:

    Bottom line…A second round pick that the Pats could have gotten in the 5th or 6th round. Richards looks like a good player and a quality person but the Pats took him too early. The shoukd have either traded the pick or get someone else.

  4. Kevan says:

    I don’t think this is about player evaluation or in the category of Ras I Dowling, Wheatley, Butler. This is about evaluating draft value and WHEN players should come off the board. I don’t hate either player, I hate the round they were selected because they could be had in rds 5-7 while pats use these picks for potential pro bowlers. BB can’t just draft a good player he has to draft an obscure good player so he looks smarter or something. It’s like he’s stickin his thumb at the nfl and all the hoopla the draft weekend entails. I’m not even top 20 as far as knowledgeable football/pats fan on this website, but I might be the most optimistic,blurry eyed biased pats fan. With that said there is no excuse or reason this should happen. The patriots don’t win Super Bowls cause of this, they win them in spite of these picks. Who knows maybe if mr genius didn’t mess around the patriots would have 7 Lombards including a 19-0 season.

  5. KNOWLEDGE says:

    I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS PICK!! TERRIBLE, DISGUSTING AND RIDICULOUS don’t even cover it. With Jalen Strong, Devin Coleman, Duke Johnson, Eli Harold, AJ Cann, Sammie Coates and many more plug and play starters on the board, Bill drafts a special teams specialist and backup Strong Safety. This guy would have been there in the 5th or 6th round. He wasn’t even the best Stanford defensive back still on the board. He isn’t athletic, lacks ball skills, and won’t be able to cover TE’s, nevermind a WR in zone coverage.

    He wasn’t the best player available, not even close. He is a 4th string SS on this team. You could have found that in 7th round. I honestly think they passed on at least 10 future pro bowlers for this guy who will never be a starter in this league. HORRIBLE!!

  6. Justin says:

    While the second round was a bit early to select Richards, he’s going to immediately have an impact on special teams coverage and provides some much needed depth at safety. This likely marks the end for Tavon Wilson, who was certainly overdrafted. However, looking at the players that are still available at positions of need — RB: Jay Ajayi, Mike Davis, Jeremy Langford. G: Tre Jackson, Jarvis Harrison, Arie Kouandjio, CB: Doran Grant, Josh Shaw, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Charles Gaines. DL: Marcus Hardison, Grady Jarrett, Za’Darius Smith, Anthony Chickillo. The Pats pick 2nd, 12th and 32nd picks in the 4th round. I really hope BB drafts Jay Ajayi and Tre Jackson with the first two picks. And then selects the best player available with their last 4th round pick, hopefully a corner. All in all, I don’t have much gripe with the way the draft has gone thus far.

  7. john says:

    Bill is the best at preparation and game management. He cannot evaluate DB’s. Look at I Dowling, Darius Butler, Canty and even Chung before he came back. Asante Samuel was a win but even Mcordy had to be moved to safety.

  8. Chill says:

    WOW! So many experts. Relax people. We just won the Super Bowl with a team, many of you have to admit, wasn’t the best we’ve seen in New England. Plenty of time to evaluate this draft later. I would guess some of you experts were wrong in the past about who you thought Bill should have drafted. Give it a rest and let it play out.

    • acm says:

      The Super Bowl they won with a secondary they had to go out and buy on the market after failing to build it on their own thru the drafting for a decade or so.
      Since I don’t see them getting another Revis or Browner from now till September, let’s hope Richards turns out to be the next Ed Reed.

    • Jack says:

      I’m not an expert. But even Belichick in his press conference ended up selling the kid on how good he would be on special teams.

      A second-rounder for a special teams ace? In what kind of world does that make sense? I didn’t pan the Ras-I Dowling pick, because he had the talent – it was a risk / reward thing. I did pan the Tavon Wilson pick. It was horrible then and it always will be. I also panned the Duane Harmon pick. He’s a marginal player and another failed safety pick – leading to the need to perpetuate the nightmarish cycle of second-round ultra-reaches for unathletic but “coachable” safeties which Belichick has unleashed on horrified fans for three years running. Ok, he had a good 3-cone time, maybe he’ll amount to something – but why draft him in the second???? He could’ve been had today.

      It doesn’t take an expert to see that he wouldn’t have been picked by another team until the later rounds. The top mock drafts are made by guys who actually have a lot of info from gms and have been doing this kind of thing for years. They are generally a good indicator of where a guy should go, roughly. They *are* experts. Lokyo in particular I like a lot, and he has blasted the pick, the same way he did the Wilson pick.

      Belichick’s coaching is unparalleled, no question about it. That and the fact that he has the GOAT QB has lead to 4 super bowls victories. But I really question why he had to let Revis and Browner go. Salary caps are rising, and they could have found a way to keep both of them and make another SB run. Maybe if Easley and Brown (who happily fell into their laps at 32) combine to generate enough pressure to protect a badly depleted DB core, and Malcolm Butler becomes a shutdown CB, *and* if the OL has some kind of reinforcement this year to protect Brady from an AFC East DL – which is off-the-charts good AND improved (Suh, Williams), maybe they have a shot. But a pick like this is irresponsible and frustrating , especially when they had such a steal in the first. The nightmare continues.

  9. Jeff M says:

    For anyone who says this “is no big deal” and “Bill has earned the benefit of the doubt”,, sorry but I’m as big a Bill defender as there is but I wonder if you think some of these asinine picks will not only not help them win games in the future but actually lose them? How about 2011…Pats took Ras I Dowling with the first pick in the second round. A guy who had injuries not only all through college, but back to HS. The guy played like 2 games that year. His replacement? Sterling Moore/ Antwan Molden…result? Get burned in the SB by the Egghead’s Downs brother.
    You can explain these away with “wins” but failing to capitalize on opportunities to help Brady win SBs while he still has a chance and saying “well Bill still wins tons of games” to justify piss poor drafting in the 2nd round (where you have a 50% lower chance of getting a pro bowler than in the first but still a HIGH probability over a 15 year period) is just stupid.
    As great a pick as Brown was…this was that BAD.

  10. Oppitz says:

    Just look at the ten guys who got caught after Tavon Wilson and Duron Harmon

    Wilson: Kendall Reyes, Isaiah Pead, Jerel Worthy, Zach Brown, Devon Still, Ryan Broyles, Peter Konz, Mike Adams, Brock Osweiler, Lavonte David

    Harmon: Stedman Bailey, Will Davis, Brandon Williams, Sam Montgomery, Knile Davis, Zaviar Gooden, Matt Barkley, Nico Johnson, Akeem Spence, Ace Sanders

    Lavonte David aside, its not like we would have gotten a great player, so stop overreacting about it, most of those “great players” available are gonna end up been backups at best, just like Wilson and Harmon are (and to be fair, they both have made important contributions to our Super Bowl run, specialty Harmon with that Flacco pick). Also Belichick loves special teams and this Richards guy will probably end up been a core ST player, so thats a lot of value for Belichick.

  11. Brian says:

    Apparently his teammates called him coach Richards, which is surely the reason BB went after this kid. I just didn’t know we were drafting coaches with our 2nd rounders now. Maybe I just need to change my perspective.

  12. Greg says:

    Serious now, please Bill, go for Sammie Coates and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

  13. Greg says:

    Luckily we get now in third round a back up punter and a holder

  14. jim r says:

    3rd round we need a FB, LS and backup up punter. gonna be a run bill. make a move

  15. AM says:

    Well, at least we’re not overreacting or anything. 😛 I don’t love the pick, but I think Belichick has probably earned the benefit of the doubt. Plus, plenty of picks left in a deep draft.

    • Yohy says:

      Of course the ultimate results speak for themselves. However, why does every draft have to have an extra degree of difficulty. Instead of a cannonball into the pool ( Cann , Harold, etc) BB wants to do the triple Lindy

      • AM says:

        A) Excellent reference. B) I definitely feel your pain as a fellow fan, but I’m going to reserve judgment for the moment (which I usually don’t do). Maybe he ends up being Tavon Wilson, maybe he ends up being Sebastian Vollmer.

        Regardless, I don’t think they’ll need to rely on him much this year (knock wood), so as long as OG is addressed in the next round or two, I’ll be able to live with it. I think.

        • JackT says:

          OMG. A safety 1/4th of an inch taller than Flutie who had been projected to go in the 5th or 6th. A waste of a 2nd on a player who didn’t address their corner or guard situation when there were good players available. I’d rather have seen them take Grayson if they were going to go off shooting squirrels in the trees. They’re going to need another QB by mid-season the way this draft is playing out.

        • acm says:

          for the record, Vollmer was projected as a fringe 3-4th rounder with his stock on the rise going into the 2009 draft. So, taking him in late 2nd wasn’t exactly a reach … not a fancy pick but certainly not much of a reach.

    • acm says:

      not with reaching for DBs in the early rounds, he hasn’t earned it … unless I have slept thru Tavon Wilson’s and Duron Harmon’s pro-bowl nominations or something 😉

      • AM says:

        In case you needed the reminder, the draft goes along with free agency and trades for team-building. 😉 The occasional misfire on an early DB pick . . . *shrug*. Harmon’s not exactly a stiff, though he’s hardly a Pro Bowler. As to Richards, maybe the guy pans out, maybe he doesn’t, but on the whole the drafts tend to improve the team, which is all the team needs.

        Plus, you know, Super Bowl. And tons of wins. So . . . yeah. I’m going to prescribe some chilling out and/or reserving judgment until actually seeing the player at least arrive at Gillette. 🙂

        • Yohy says:

          Not questioning your big picture perspective, but you are missing the point It not that he was drafted it’s when he was drafted. Way too soon. Also, not a position of need like guard and corner or OLB

          Who knows maybe a solid contributor but why so early?

        • acm says:

          As Yohy said, it’s about where those guys were selected. Had they been 7th rounders, you hear an argument from me as their eventual performance fits that draft value. I can even understand taking them in the 5th round. But for 2nd-3rd round picks – and Wilson and harmon are just the tip of an entire iceberg of misfiring on DBs – level of performance is surely not up to scratch, no where near it, on a rather consistent basis, which is best described as a regular pattern, not “occasional misfire”

        • AM says:

          The problem with that assessment is that it is not-quite-but-derived-from post hoc ergo propter hoc. The fact that any given player was available for us, or was even a consensus lower-round pick from a media perspective, does not necessarily mean that is the case. With 32 team boards, guessing where a player will fall is a matter of speculation, based on information that is necessarily more readily available to the team than to us long-suffering fans. So, we can either presume that the team evaluated a player’s prospective position well (and that another team may have stepped in between #64 and #96 to take him), or that they did so poorly. Neither position is provable. What I find highly unlikely is that the team chose to deviate from its board–for whatever reason, Richards was likely viewed as the BPA. Given the team’s overall success with that drafting strategy, I’m fine with the pick, at least for the moment. It tends to succeed more than it fails, even if it does appear that there is a potential blind spot at DB.

          Now, about that blind spot: over a statistically (though not situationally) small sample size, the team clearly has difficulty developing DBs chosen in the higher rounds. Whether this is a function of evaluation or coaching is debatable, though I’m inclined to think it is a mix of the two. The last dozen DBs chosen have provided a mixed-to-negative set of results on the whole. But that also includes poorly performing backs like Darius Butler and Ras-I Dowling (though I hated the latter pick even as it was made), who were considered good value selections relative to “consensus” expected draft position. It also includes inconsistent-but-talented players like Brandon Meriweather and Logan Ryan, both of whom also fell into expected draft range. The only reason that some are going prematurely bonkers over this pick is the memory of Tavon Wilson (and Duron Harmon, though he seems serviceable enough). We also have the luxury of looking back a couple of years later and playing the “we could have had . . .” game, regardless of how we felt at the time. But the DB problem is much more complex than simply picking unfamiliar names.

          In any event, I’m content with the big picture for the moment. If it turns out we have an atrocious defense this year, and Richards is bum who can’t make the practice squad, I will undoubtedly gripe then. But given that we’re raising a banner, and have made drastic improvements to an already above-average front seven, I’m willing to wait. At least until the end of the next round. 😀

    • Greg says:

      Put Richards to cover Dez, OBJ, Watkins, Parker, Brown, Thomas, Sanders

  16. Jack says:


  17. Pete says:

    Just to rub it in more…Smith, Cann, Lockett, Strong, Coleman and Odighizuwa are gone in the first 10 picks of the 3rd round.

  18. zim says:

    If your the smartest man in the room………why are you taking a six or seventh rounder in the se ond round. Pick those guys later. What a waste. Glad the afc east is getting better up front. an offensive lineman obviously made no sense here. Thanks bill. #f-off.

  19. Greg says:

    He will draft LS Joe Cardona now…. He loves Navy

  20. John M says:

    Why didn’t they move up in the 2nd round? WASTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Yohy says:

    Now watch they will pick someone in the 7 th round who will be pro-bowler

  22. Ryan says:

    I think that this whole website is in agreement: that pick should’ve been A.J. Cann. Really disappointed. Richards would’ve been there at pick 132 and could’ve been there at 177. No reason for him to be picked here, much as how it was with Tavon Wilson and Duron Harmon. With quite a few high-value players available it breaks my heart to see Belicheck jump at another safety who could struggle to ever make an impact on the team. The pick isn’t an F- because Richards would’ve been drafted and we need another starter at safety. But based on Richards’ skill and the talent that Belicheck passed up on, this pick is a D at best.

    • Ryan says:

      And think about it this way: Belicheck passed up on two players (Cann and Odighizuwa) who I thought of as potential first-rounders. He also passed on Eli Harold, D’Joun Smith, T.J. Clemmings, and Danielle Hunter, who had definite second-round grades. Bill had plenty of options, so he must love this player. Unfortunately, based on the production of Tavon Wilson and Duron Harmon, that probably means that Richards is mediocre at best.

      • Greg says:

        Mediocre? You gotta see him playing. He is smart and moves like… My grandma

        • Ryan says:

          So long as we’re focusing on smarts, why not draft some of Richards’ classmates at Stanford? They could be smarter and they could definitely outrun him.

        • Greg says:

          That’s will be our 3rd, 4th, 6th and double 7th, Richards classmates. Our first third will be Joe Cardona. We certainly will be the smart team… Because now touchdown will be scored when you do calculus.

  23. acm says:


    What is it with Bill and wasting 2nd round picks on 7th round/UDFA safeties? This is crazy … I can understand liking a player but at least reach for him in the 4th or something.
    And this is becoming a predictable pattern now.

    So many good players still on board – Odighizuwa, Cann, Lockett, Harold, Duke Johnson … too many to list, tbh.

    • Brian says:

      This whole situation is so confusing to me. For a coach that preaches “Value” and aggressively works trades to maximize this, it just doesn’t make any sense. What kind of value is taking a 7th round talent in the 2nd round.

      And I know that bills adage is “dependability is more important than ability.” But when he drafts those guys with ability ( gronkowski, Jamie Collins, Hightower) it has worked out pretty good.

      I’ll try to not be too critical until he plays, but I don’t see how he adds any value to a team with Chung, Wilson and Harmon. It’s just more of the same.

  24. steve says:

    Ya, right. BB up to his old tricks, he wouldn’t know a good DB if one slapped him in the face. What a waste of a second round pick.

    • Ryan says:

      If he wanted a coverage safety he should’ve picked Cody Prewitt. If he wanted an in-the-box safety he should’ve picked Ibraheim Campbell. However, he shouldn’t have picked ANY safety in round when we have 3 picks a round later. Even better, Jordan Richards probably has no shot at playing corner. He will be a one-dimensional backup as Brady’s career comes to a close.

  25. Greg says:

    “How to waist your second round pick every year” by Bill Belichick

  26. Bill Vermont says:

    A virtual unknown DB who runs a 4.65 linebacker speed. A lot of good OL still out there I don’t get it. Even if he’s a good player, that’s not a position of need. Whats the point?

  27. Kevan says:

    This is getting old. I’m done watching the 2nd round

    • Kevan says:

      Not just this 2nd round but every second round

      • AM says:

        Except for the ones featuring Gronkowski, Vollmer, Vereen, Collins, etc., right?

        • Kevan says:

          I’ll pass watching the logical choices so I don’t have to watch pats take a 7th rounder in the second ever again.

  28. Yohy says:

    Malcom Brown I loved it !!!!! A highly regarded player at a position of need and the Pats pull the trigger.

    Here’s the annual WTF pick. A safety that could have been chosen in round 3 or 4? Pass on guards like Cann and Jackson. Look at the AFC east. Every team improved their defensive interior.

    Don’t hate the player. Just where he was chosen. Also liked Harold the LB. Oh well

  29. John says:

    Owamagbe? Cann? Coleman? Duke?… Ugh.

  30. Greg says:

    Awful choice. AJ Cann? No, let’s draft a 6th rounder unknown who you’ll do nothing for the team

  31. Greg says:

    Awful choice. AJ Cann? No lets choice a 6th rounder. Fuck you belichick

  32. AM says:

    Hello Tavon Wilson the Third. Or Duron Harmon the Second. Underwhelmed, although I like him better than either of the other two.

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