The Seahawks used their first selection of the 2014 NFL Draft to select WR Paul Richardson.
Richardson is extremely undersized at 6'0, 165 or so but has explosive traits as an athlete. While size is a huge concern for me, he has pledged to try and gain about ten or fifteen pounds. Getting him up to 180 pounds or so would probably do wonders for his durability in the NFL. Regardless, what he does have in spades is speed, and while he ran a 4.40 at the Combine, his field speed is significantly faster in my opinion.
I recently saw former Ravens' scout Daniel Jeremiah say Colorado's Paul Richardson "has an extra gear" (he also used the term "ludicrous speed" today), and I'm wondering if this is the play that he was watching when he said it.
Video via DraftBreakdown.com.
The corner has what appears to be an angle on Richardson after the initial catch, and against most receivers, probably would have run the play down to avoid the score. Richardson hits the NOS though and just flies up the sideline, running away from the defender with absurd speed. The Seahawks undoubtedly love this. Speed kills.
It also strikes me that the Seahawks saw the effect that Percy Harvin's speed had on opposing defenses when he was in games in 2013. It's not an exaggeration to say that their offense looks almost completely different, and while Richarson is not Harvin, obviously, his field speed has been compared to DeSean Jackson and he'll be a 'stretch the field' element that could make an immediate impact. He also figures to factor into the return game, possibly as a punt returner (he doesn't have experience there, but... ).
I've liked Richardson for a while and have thought that his range would be anywhere from the 2nd round to the 4th round, depending on what teams thought of his size. Apparently the Seahawks are okay with it.
The knock on Richardson, aside from his size, are that he occasionally struggles with drops. This is something that could or could not improve, but he is also prone to making an acrobatic catch as well. It will be interesting to see.
Here's a few scouting reports.
Tony Pauline, DraftInsider:
Positive: All-conference receiver in 2013 after posting 83 receptions, 1343 yards, and 10 TDs. Missed the 2012 campaign with a knee injury. Sophomore totals included 39 receptions, 555 yards, and 5 TDs. Explosive receiver effective down the field or in underneath coverage. Smart player. Displays a sense of timing and fundamentally sound. Quickly releases off the line of scrimmage, has a burst of speed which he turns on in a single step, and stretches the field vertically. Effectively tracks the pass in the air, makes catches in contorted positions, and plays with balance. Uses the sidelines well, possesses good eye-hand coordination, and consistently makes catches away from his frame. Gets up in a crowd and fights to come away with the ball. Runs crisp routes, separates from defenders, and comes back into the clearing to make himself an available target. Plays with quickness and can run to the deep throw. A big-play receiver with a consistent game.
Negative: Must turn up the intensity when blocking. Has a thin build and will struggle handling jams at the next level. Loses out in battles.
Analysis: When healthy, Richardson was a consistent receiver and a force to be dealt with. He comes with a solid game, has a high upside and could develop into a number two wideout at the next level. In the end Richardson may turn into one of the steals in May's draft.
Nolan Nawrocki, NFL.com:
STRENGTHS Jab steps and accelerates into routes. Fluid and field fast. Chews up ground with long strides. Stretches the field vertically and can run under deep throws. Can drive off corners, break off and work back to the quarterback. Can extend to pluck off his frame. Shows he's capable of making the spectacular grab. Productive despite a poor supporting cast. Has a 38-inch vertical jump.
WEAKNESSES Is very lean. Needs to bulk up and get stronger. Has been injured and durability could be an issue. Vulnerable to the jam. Does not separate consistently -- needs to become a more refined, deceptive route runner. Average burst out of breaks. Lets some throws into his body and drops throws he shouldn't. Gets out-muscled at the catch point for 50-50 balls. Limited run strength. Underpowered blocker.
Rob Rang, CBSSports.com:
STRENGTHS: Terrific athlete who appeared every bit as agile and explosive in 2013 after missing the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL. Very good straight-line speed making him an excellent option on vertical routes. Savvy route-runner who alters his gait off the line and throughout his route to gain separation from cornerbacks. Sinks his hips and explodes out of his breaks.
Generally plucks the ball cleanly out of the air with his hands, securing it quickly. Can track the ball over either shoulder and flashes the ability to dive and haul in the extraordinary catch.
Good vision to set up blocks. Good bloodlines. Father, Paul, Sr., played wide receiver in the NFL with Philadelphia, Oakland, Green Bay and the New York Jets.
WEAKNESSES: Very slim build and has struggled with durability throughout his career. Doesn't track the ball over his shoulder as well as he should for a receiver who makes his living on big plays. Too often senses the oncoming defender and allows the pass to slip through his fingers. Doesn't offer much as a downfield blocker.