Scouting Report: Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
A serious playmaker with a high-end motor
The Eagles cut DeSean Jackson yesterday and the football community, especially Philly fans, were borderline apoplectic about the situation. Why would the Eagles cut such a talented player? I think today’s prospect is a partial answer to that question. Paul Richardson has the potential to be the next DeSean Jackson without all the baggage, and you might be able to get him as late as round four depending on how the NFL teams value things this year. Personally, I think Richardson is, at worst, a second-round talent. He might have been a first rounder in 2015, had he stayed at Colorado one more season.
This is a player who looks better the more you watch him, with a few qualities that just jump out at you. The first is his motor--Richardson is always going all-out ... always. As I mentioned earlier this year with Penn State’s Allen Robinson, whom we like quite a bit, inconsistent effort when blocking is something that will take you off of certain team’s draft boards. This will not be an issue with Richardson, who commits every single one of his 175 pounds on every down of every game. This kid is a team-first gamer. It’s not surprising ... Richardson’s father, Paul Sr., played briefly in the NFL, ironically enough, for Philadelphia. He's obviously taught his son a few things about being a complete player.
I think it’s quite possible that Eagles' HC Chip Kelly looked at Jackson’s 10 million dollar per year contract and then looked at Paul Richardson and the rest of the year’s class. He may have simply decided that moving on would benefit his team, as would 6.5 million dollars in cap space.
At the Combine, Richardson was asked who he compared himself to. “Split between Mike Wallace and DeSean Jackson right now. I’m trying to come in and make a name for myself.” Not a bad pair to mention, but I want to point out that we like Richardson’s mental make-up better than either one of those players, who both have diva tendencies to put it mildly.
When asked what he brings to a team, Richardson was accurate and to the point. “Being able to score in multiple ways. Taking it on 3-yard routes or downfield 30 yards. Being able to stretch the field on any starting point is a good trait to have.” Yes, it certainly is, and Richardson can do definitely do it.
Richardson said that he played at around 161 pounds this year, but he ran 4.40 at the Combine while weighing a bit over 175, so that is good news. Richardson says he’s been eating better since he got out of school due to a better food budget. Yes, it helps when your management team can help you with your liquidity. “You have a little bit more money coming out of college. They make sure I eat a few times a day and in-between meals and I’ve been lifting and getting stronger as well. I’ve been naturally gaining weight, but haven’t been overfeeding myself or anything.”
On his connection with Eric Bieniemy and the Chiefs. “I think they have a great organization. I know their running backs coach, Eric Bieniemy he was the Offense Coordinator at CU. I think they have a great team and I’d love to fit into that offensive scheme.” I’m quite sure that they’d love to have him. Richardson would be an outstanding fit in Kansas City and for Alex Smith because he can gain separation very quickly.
As for Richardson’s 2012 ACL injury, he says it was not a factor last season and that he is healthy now. “My injury hasn’t become an issue. I played all last season after tearing my ACL. I didn’t miss anything because of my knee or have to sit out because of my knee, so I’ve made great progress with that.” For what it’s worth, Richardson did not look like a guy with a knee injury last year, and it was his first year after surgery. It’s possible that his movement skills could actually get better in 2014 in his second full year after reconstruction.
Let’s take a look at Richardson’s Combine numbers.
- Height - 6’0”
- Weight - 175
- Hands - 8 7/8”
- 40 - 4.40
- Vertical Jump - 38”
- Broad Jump - 124
- 3 Cone - 7.09
Not bad at all and, again, he’s a year removed from an ACL. Let's take a look at Richardson’s strengths as we see them.
- Style - I’m listing this first because, while we see a fair amount of players with Richardson’s physical attributes, we see few who play the game as hard as he does in all phases. The light is always on.
- Speed - The guy can fly and he proved it at the Combine. And, he’s not a one-speed player. He’s got a second gear and some burst out of his cuts.
- Quickness - When you watch Richardson run routes, you see him often toying with defensive backs. He can shake free of average corners without breaking a sweat. His double move is a thing of beauty.
- Cuts - Whether in his routes or in the open field, this kid’s cuts are sudden and often devastating.
- Hands - No problems here. Richardson can make the catches you need him to make and he’ll sprinkle in some eye-poppers too. He’s a playmaker.
- Yards after the catch - Richardson is all kinds of dangerous when he has the rock in his hands. He runs to daylight and will make people look stupid in space.
- Blocking - Is he gifted as a blocker? No, but his effort is there every snap as I said earlier. That makes him appealing compared to a lot of other prospects as blocking is often an effort skill, like defense in the NBA, and the effort is there consistently.
- Intangibles - Richardson plays hard and fast at all times and is a leader by example. He was also a team Captain in 2013. Not bad for a Junior who was coming off of knee reconstruction.
- Production - Richardson got better every year and had a monster season in 2013 coming off the serious injury. He was the clear top option in the passing game and opponents could do little to slow him down.
Let’s take a look at some tape. Here’s Richardson’s highlight reel.
Here’s a game mash-up from Draft Breakdown versus USC in 2013.
Here’s some tape of Richardson destroying California.
There are three more games to take in at Draft Breakdown if you are inclined. They are doing outstanding work over there as always, and we encourage you to explore their site if you enjoy watching film.
To us, Richardson is a no-doubter as far as his talent and skill are concerned. The only, and I mean only, thing we are concerned with is his wispy build, and that’s only an issue in terms of durability. Having said that, as much as we like him and as much as we think he has the potential to be dominant at times, we also see him functioning best as a secondary weapon like T.Y. Hilton, who we sold hard heading into his rookie season. Here's a quick look at our review.
“Small. That’s the only possible complaint we can come up with on TY Hilton. He is a bit small and he comes from a small school. Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way ... this kid can flat-out play. He runs like the wind and makes all the catches. He’s dynamite after the catch and has a great feel for the game. We think he shines in Indy with Luck and company. We also like his chances as far as challenging for snaps as a rookie. He needs a big camp to be a factor in typical redrafts, but we’d grab him in long term leagues and dynasty. This guy has DeSean Jackson-like potential without the hype. Yeah, I said it. He’s a serious KR threat and PR threat as well.”
Richardson can be a game-wrecker just like Hilton, but I think it’s questionable as to whether he holds up long term as a primary weapon in a pass-first attack. Then again, as a secondary weapon on a team like Detroit, New Orleans or Cincinnati, he could be devastating. He could give the Lions what they wanted out of Ryan Broyles. He’d make Saints' fans forget about Lance Moore in about two seconds, and the same goes for Bengals' fans and Andrew Hawkins.
As always, we’ll update Richardson for fantasy purposes after the draft, once we know where he’s playing.
Other 2014 Scouting Reports:
- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
- Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
- Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
- Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
- Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
- Terrance West, RB, Towson
- Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern
- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
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