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Sam’s Film Room: Sheldon Richardson improves the Seahawks already-elite front-7

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On Saturday, the Seattle Seahawks traded Jermaine Kearse and a second round pick to the New York Jets in exchange for Sheldon Richardson. According to Pete Carroll, Richardson will play as a 3-tech for this defense.

Before we begin, the 3-tech lines up on the outside shoulder of the guard. In the Seahawks’ 4-3 Under front, this will be on the weakside in their base packages. When the defense uses their Over front, which frequently occurs versus 11-personnel (or three wide receiver sets), he will line up on the strongside.

Last season, the Jets split his duties evenly between interior and exterior alignments. Not only was he used all over the defensive line, they actually used him as an inside linebacker during their game against the Arizona Cardinals.

From a physical standpoint, Richardson stands at 6’2, 295 lbs, and has 34.5” arms. He generally does a good job of timing the snap while using his burst to create penetration. With his power and a natural ability to create leverage, he can play as a one-gap and two-gap defensive lineman for the Seahawks.

As a run defender, Richardson was amazing last season. He knifed into the backfield while also holding the point of attack against blockers. Also, he understood where the play was going and stopped it with his intelligence.

As a pass rusher, he was not the strongest in 2016. Much of that had to do with his ability (or inability) to disengage from blockers. This was in stark contrast to his 2014 and 2015 seasons in which he had a combined 13 sacks. What’s interesting is that in 2015, like Coleman Crawford noted on Twitter, he was great at disengaging from blocks and wreaking havoc. This was not the same Richardson I saw in 2016.

Three other things you need to know:

  • He was suspended four games during the 2015 season for testing positive for marijuana.
  • He was arrested and suspended for a game during the 2016 season for driving his car over 140 miles per hour. When he was pulled over, the police said the car wreaked of marijuana and they found a loaded handgun under a floor mat.
  • From a contract standpoint, the Seahawks restructured Doug Baldwin’s to make room for this trade. Richardson is set to earn over $8 million dollars and then he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.

Overall, Richardson offers a lot of value to this team and he was a big reason why they cut Ahtyba Rubin. With Malik McDowell’s absence, we can obviously see why Seattle traded for him.

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