Mizzou’s Richardson would be perfect for Dallas
The following is
the 5th in a series of draft profiles for the 1st round pick for the
Dallas Cowboys. These profiles are put together with the specific needs
of the Cowboys in mind, and is an attempt to examine their resumes and
game tape to get an idea of who might fit in best with Dallas come draft
day. Surely, circumstances will dictate
what actually happens on that day, but we will profile the 8-10 most
likely candidates and try to kick the tires on each and every scenario
an how it relates to the Cowboys in 2013 and beyond.
40 time: 4.99 Bench Press: 30
This NFL is evolving. To a point that Sheldon Richardson is
one of the highly touted defensive tackles in this draft despite looking
like a linebacker. He wears #34 as a defensive tackle and
honestly, it doesn’t even look that weird because runs like a deer.
But, it is that ultimate question in the game of football.
While we evolve to better athletes at these positions that
were normally reserved for the big and strong players, are we allowing
our defenses to get to a point where they can be attacked physically
Richardson is a physical marvel who while running a reported 4.81 on his
pro day also plays with great speed. He runs everywhere fast
and therefore on screen plays where he must head for a sideline runs by
many players who don’t have his gifts. But, it is one thing to
have great wheels, it is quite another to play to the whistle at all
times. Does this special player have the motor that doesn’t
stop until the play stops? If he gets blocked initially, is he
now out of the play? With Richardson, you will see the answer
is “never”. When a play gets past him, you will often see him
running to the ball with great pursuit. Trust me, this is not
always the case with defensive linemen. Never giving up on a
play is a very useful and admirable trait that is important to value.
And his 75 tackles as a DT indicate that he is getting in on
plays that are not necessarily plays in his direction.
He has been productive at Missouri, playing 24 games in 2 seasons and
finding 24.5 explosive plays (Sacks + Tackles For Loss). This
ratio is strong (not great) and representative of a guy who can get
where he wants to go and do something when he gets there. He
also has the ability to drop back into coverage on a zone blitz concept
as his movement skills are exceptional. I wouldn’t recommend
too much dropping of a DT into pass defense, but it at least would be
available with a guy like Richardson.
His negatives are out there as well, in that he has said and done a few
things that might not be everyone’s (Jason Garrett) cup of tea.
He missed a game as a violation of team policy and lobbed some
quotes out there that indicate he is ready to battle you in the media,
But, those items don’t concern me too much. What does make me
wonder is if this type of player can help you go through the physical
teams that wish to ground and pound you. For instance, when we
look at guards who are strong as can be decide to double team and shove
him, can he do anything to stop it? Does he have a run anchor
in physical play or is he simply a penetrating athlete who never stops
running? What does he do when Seattle or San Francisco are
going to run right at him?
This is nit-picking, for sure, but you hate to draft a 1st Rounder who
has a weakness that might make him a target for game-plans because of a
weakness. However, there is a give-and-take with regards to
skill sets. If a guy cannot be moved in the running game, he
is not likely to have much effect in the backfield.
Conversely, if a guy has the athletic talents to penetrate and
blow plays up deep in the backfield, then he is likely to not have the
anchor to stand in there and hold his ground. If a guy can do
both, he is Vince Wilfork.
But, Richardson is a magnificent specimen who will impress you with his
film – in particular, a 14 tackle, 1 sack performance against Alabama
Here are some youtube cut-ups for your own personal eye-ball test. Find the DT who wears #92 and watch:
Vs South Carolina
The Case For Dallas Taking
Sheldon Richardson at #18: Richardson is clearly
in that category of player that if he slides to 18, the Cowboys would
likely run to the podium to take him. He has a few things that
might bother you if you are picking #4, but by the time you get to the
back half of the 1st Round, you are more than delighted to take on any
slight risks. He is exactly the type of player the Cowboys
should be targeting in that he is a defensive lineman who has position
versatility and also the ability to defeat blocks and make plays in the
backfield. If you consider the idea of a premium player at a
real position of need and a guy who is a finished product who can step
in Week 1 and cause problems for your opponents, look no further than
The Case Against Dallas Taking
Sheldon Richardson at #18: The one knock on him
would be that your team is not physical enough and while he is plenty
weight-room strong, I am not sure he plays as strong in the trenches all
of the time. If he were to face a strong guard who has good
hands, he might have a very quiet day and from that standpoint, a guy
like Sylvester Williams might be more what they need. But,
there is not much of a case against Sheldon Richardson. He
looks like he could really have an impact right away.
ranking him, I have him as the best DT we have looked at. I
still want the both guards, first, but Richardson is a special player at
a position where the Cowboys don’t have much.
So far, of our 5 profiles, I would list them in this order: