Throughout the entire pre-draft process, a lot of big-bodied receivers that could win contested catches and make plays in the red zone were mocked to the Seahawks - Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Matthews, Cody Latimer, Allen Robinson, Martavis Bryant, Donte Moncrief, etc. Leave it to the Seahawks to draft the one guy that nobody was talking about and once again catch a lot of fans off guard.
I personally didn't consider Richardson an option for Seattle because they already have small, quick, and fast receivers in Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin (and Jermaine Kearse and Bryan Walters and Arceto Clark and). Consequently, in the pre-draft process, I felt that Richardson's skill set would not of interest to Seattle because it'd be somewhat redundant with the players already on the roster. This thinking, however, was obviously flawed. In retrospect, knowing what we know of Pete Carroll's offensive philosophy, it should've been pretty clear that his ability to take the top off of a defense would be highly valued in the Seahawks' passing attack.
Picking Richardson was not about finding a missing element, but rather amplifying what Seattle already does well.
Last season, Seattle was the 2nd in the NFL in yards per pass attempt. They don't always pass the ball, but when they do, they prefer to throw it deep. Consequently, they want guys that can stretch the field vertically and create explosive plays down field. When asked about what he likes about Richardson, Pete Carroll replied:
"I like a lot about him. We're really excited that this happened, and we've been watching it the whole time hoping we could get there. He's got great qualities. His speed is extraordinary. He has the terrific hands and a great catching range, he's really got characteristics like the guys that have been successful for us. He's got quickness kind of like Doug Baldwin, he's got speed kind of like Percy Harvin, and he has that catching range kind of like Jermaine Kearse so we just felt really comfortable with his style of play. I see him as a route runner. He's an outside guy for us, a guy that can really get in and out of his breaks and he's got great stuff. We're really excited about this pick."
Doug Baldwin Quickness:
Percy Harvin Speed:
Jermaine Kearse Catching Range:
As Carroll confirmed, Richardson is likely to play outside the numbers as a Z or X receiver. Since Harvin and Baldwin will most likely be switching between the Z and the slot, Richardson will most likely be competing with Jermaine Kearse and Sidney Rice to start at X receiver. The most vital part of playing X receiver is the ability to beat press coverage and get off of the line of scrimmage. Richardson only weighed 175 lbs but ran a 4.40 40 so he will have to rely on his speed to beat, rather than his size to win, at the line. John Schneider touched on Richardson's ability to beat press coverage with quickness,
"One of the things that really stands out about him is when you just watch him get off the ball. You see his frame and you think you're going to see a guy getting knocked around, but he's incredibly shifty and sudden, and then he has long arms and really quick hands. He can just put his foot in the ground and get up field. Once he's running, he's running really fast."
The Seahawks added another explosive element to their offenses that will stretch defenses vertically and give defensive coordinators nightmares about if they are going to stack the box to stop Seattle's rushing attack or not. If they decide to leave their corners without any safety help over the top against Harvin, Baldwin, Kearse, and Richardson, that's a big play waiting to happen. If they decide to only stop Marshawn Lynch with seven defenders, good luck. Is it September yet?