Sheldon Richardson   DT   Missouri

TALENT BOARD ROUND  2

 

STRENGTHS

Sheldon has excellent athletic abilities to play at a very high level for the team that drafts him.  He shows very good foot speed to run down players from behind and the quickness and burst off the line to rush the passer.  Sheldon has just enough change of direction ability to stay with most quarterbacks and sack them when they slide in the pocket.  He has decent strength and, when he uses the correct techniques, is stout against the run.  He gives good effort on every down and although he is playing out of position, never stops exploding off the ball and into his opponent on every snap. Sheldon has the talent to be an impact player for the next level, but as I always say, it takes more than talent to play in the NFL. 

 

CONCERNS

Sheldon is very inconsistent using the correct techniques on every snap.  This means one of two things: either he doesn't get it and thinks athletic talent alone in the NFL is enough or he is lazy.  The kid seems to work hard on every play, so I pick that he just doesn't get it.  He also lacks any kind of pass rushing moves except that, once in a while, he will whirl around like a top and then stop -- I guess because he is dizzy.  He is one of these players at the college level that gets into the backfield and just about makes a play on every down.  But he is excellent at running a player down from behind.

 

BOTTOM LINE

I look at this kid and I see a young Michael Strahan.  He has the athletic ability and natural size to be a Defensive End in a 4-3 or in a 3-4, but I don't see defensive tackle in his future.  He would have to learn much better pass rushing skills to succeed as a power rusher on the left side of the defense against the other teams right tackle, but he does have the athletic ability.  Right now, on the film I see a player not playing up to his potential technique-wise.  I see a player trying hard, but just not getting to the play in the backfield to get the job done.  To his credit, he does not seem to get frustrated and continues to play hard all through the games.  Here is what I think. We either have a personal problem with the coaches or this kid refuses to be coached.  Take your pick.  Sheldon will have excellent workouts and will be drafted higher than I would draft him unless he doesn't do well in his interviews.  His workout numbers should be excellent, but I just think he will take some time to be truly effective and for me, this makes him more of a second round selection than a first round selection very much like Michael Strahan.  Michael was selected in the 2nd round of the 1993 draft because he had a lot to learn.  His breakout year didn't happen until 1997 and I suspect Sheldon might have the same problem Michael had for the first few years. This is a player, if drafted by the right team and right coach, becomes a star.  Wrong team, wrong coach and he is a bust.  "Boom or Bust" -- that's what we call them.  Why this label for Sheldon, you ask?  Inconsistent techniques defending against the run, may have to change positions, and a question mark on his pass rushing techniques.  That's the definition of a Boom or Bust player...minus a work ethic issue in this case. 

 

Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart

Jan/2013