In the above video, you’ll see what makes new Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson so gifted and tough to defend for offensive linemen, and why he’s a much better fit in Seattle’s defense as a 3-tech than as an outside linebacker for the New York Jets.
Prior to the start of the 2017 NFL season, the Seattle Seahawks lost rookie defensive tackle Malik McDowell to an unfortunate ATV accident. At that point, general manager John Schneider started scheming up ways to produce the interior pressure — their biggest defensive need — that the Seahawks had hoped to get from McDowell. What he came up with was instead even better than acquiring McDowell, trading hometown receiver Jermaine Kearse, plus a 2018 second and seventh round pick to the Jets in return for Sheldon Richardson and a 2018 seventh round pick.
Richardson, a first round pick in 2013, has been a star when playing along the defensive line. His “down year” in 2016 was mainly due to being moved from a down lineman spot to an outside linebacker role. However, in Seattle he will almost certainly play a majority of his snaps at the 3-technique spot lined up on the outside of an offensive guard ready to wreak havoc in the backfield.
From the film I watched, Richardson is both an adept run defender and a great pass rusher; he went up against a vaunted Cowboys offensive line and came out the victor more times than not.
The Seahawks defense has been one of the best in the NFL for the past five years but if there has been something missing for the past two of those years it has been a lack of interior pass rush that has been the weakest part of the defense. While Jarran Reed and Ahtyba Rubin are stout run defenders, neither one of them is a pass rusher and that required players like Michael Bennett to move inside on passing downs to try and generate pressure. The addition of Richardson should generate interior push on almost every single snap.
If you would like to see more of Richardsons 2015 season, here’s a Twitter thread with more than a couple gifs demonstrating what he can do from the 3 technique position.
Its Sheldon Richardson time, this is a gif thread of 2015 Sheldon Richardson, went with 15 over 16 because in 16 he played OLB instead of DT— Coleman Crawford (@Coleman3SD) September 3, 2017
The Seahawks open in Green Bay against the Packers on Sunday, and we’ll then get to see just how much and when Seattle opts to use their new star d-lineman. Hopefully it won’t take him long to adjust.