Summary: Over the past three seasons, Richardson was one of the best offensive linemen in the Big XII. Baylor's offense was one of the best and most prolific offenses in college football over that time. Richardson and an underrated offensive line were a big reason why.
Playing on the blind side at tackle, Richardson did an overall good job of blocking for quarterback Robert Griffin III in 2011. Richardson also opened up holes in the ground game for Terrance Ganaway. There were games in 2011 in which Richardson allowed too much pass pressure and hits on Griffin, but Richardson was playing out of position at left tackle. Richardson was much better at guard in 2012. The junior opened up a lot of running holes and was greatly improved as a pass-blocker.
Richardson was dominant in the early going of 2013 as Baylor has put up some massive point totals against some weak opponents. Running back Lache Seastrunk had a lot of success running behind Richardson. The Bears' schedule got more difficult in the second half of the year, but Richardson still played well. He finished with solid performances against Texas and Central Florida.
At the Senior Bowl, Richardson hurt his chances of being the first guard taken on draft day as he really struggled with Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald. Donald not only beat Richardson routinely with speed rushes, but also dumped the big guard on his backside with some power rushes. It was a rough week for Richardson that exposed some problems in his game.
Richardson has room for improvement in pass protection, too. He needs to get quicker and more balanced. That will be the challenge for Richardson panning out as a draft pick. If he could get quicker firing out of his stance, it would help him.
For the NFL, Richardson would probably be best as a right guard, although he could play left guard depending on the scheme. If Richardson continues to develop, he could move to the left side in time. Richardson could play in a zone-blocking system, but would be better in a man scheme. He looks like a second-day pick.
Player Comparison: Ramon Foster. Foster (6-6, 325) has a similar game to Richardson. Both are quality run-blockers who can handle large defensive tackles. Foster has improved his game over time and is a skilled pass-protector. That's how Richardson trended in college, and if he can get back to that instead of his Senior Bowl showing, he could be a guard like Foster in the NFL. Foster went undrafted out of Tennessee in 2009, and obviously Richardson won't follow that path. In the pros, Richardson could be similar, and potentially better than Foster.
NFL Matches: Jacksonville, Atlanta, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Buffalo, Oakland, Minnesota, Miami, New York Jets
There are a lot of teams that could consider taking Richardson, especially in the second round. A number of teams picking in the top-20 selections of Round 2 need interior offensive line help and are likely to draft for defense or a quarterback in the first round.
The Jaguars need a lot of help on their offensive line, and Richardson would make a lot of sense for Jacksonville as a player who could start immediately. Will Rackley has been awful and must be replaced. Plus, the Jaguars saw Richardson at the Senior Bowl, so they have gotten to know him well already.
WalterFootball.com learned from sources that the Falcons were very disappointed in the play of the inside of their offensive line last year. Atlanta wants to get bigger and more physical on the interior, which drafting Richardson would help accomplish.
Carl Nicks may never play again for Tampa Bay, while Davin Joseph is declining. The Bucs could consider a guard if they don't go that route in free agency.
Cleveland could use an upgrade over Shawn Lauvao and Oniel Cousins, while Oakland has to find a replacement for Lucas Nix. Richardson could make sense for the Browns or Raiders.
In the AFC East, Richardson has three potential landing spots. Buffalo never replaced Andy Levitre adequately; the Jets need to add two guards this offseason, while Miami also has to improve its guards. Any of those teams could target Richardson in the second round.
Minnesota could use a road-grader in front of Adrian Peterson, plus Charlie Johnson is entering free agency. A guard could pay dividends for the Vikings.
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