Sheldon Richardson DT Missouri #34
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Size/Athleticism: Modest overall size, but has the nice blend of strength and athleticism. He has the strength to bull rush his way into the backfield, but also has the speed to use his athleticism to work his way around interior offensive linemen. Plays with an impressive motor.
Run Defense: Lacks the elite strength to excel at the point of attack, but he holds his own. Struggles to shed double teams at the point of attack, but he’s generally able to hold his ground even if he can’t penetrate. Does a great job in pursuit. Fights through traffic and demonstrates an impressive motor. Fast enough to make some plays in pursuit. Does a nice job keeping his eyes in the backfield and reacting to the direction of the play.
Pass Rush: Explosive off the snap. A full-speed-ahead pass rusher who really pins his ears back and explodes off the snap. Impressive strength, especially considering his relatively modest size for an interior lineman. Does a great job collapsing the pocket even when he fails to disgusting from a block and fight his way into the backfield. Stays low and plays with good leverage to bull rush his way into the backfield. Does a nice job getting his arms up into passing lanes.
Versatility: Experience lining up as a three-tech in 4-3 sets, and as an end and nose tackle in 3-4 sets. At his best as a three-tech, but could play end in a 3-4.
Intangibles: JUCO transfer with only one year of experience as a full-time starter.
Durability: No significant injuries of note.
Comments: Richardson is an explosive pass-rush who can get into the backfield with ease using a variety of moves. What really sets him apart from other prospects, however, is his consistency. Many other interior pass-rushers struggle against the run but Richardson holds his ground. He can definitely be pushed around at the point of attack at times, but he makes up for with an elite motor in pursuit. He’s a true three-down lineman and should excel immediately in a 4-3 scheme.