The Seahawks Friday afternoon used their second-round pick, 45th overall, on Colorado receiver Paul Richardson, a 6-0, 175-pound wide receiver with blazing speed. Here’s the scouting report fromCBSSports.com draft expert Rob Rang on the first player picked by the champs:
Strengths: A terrific athlete who appeared every bit as agile and explosive in 2013 after missing the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL. Very good straight-line speed making him an excellent option on vertical routes. Savvy route-runner who alters his gait off the line and throughout his route to gain separation from cornerbacks. Sinks his hips and explodes out of his breaks.
Generally plucks the ball cleanly out of the air with his hands, securing it quickly. Can track the ball over either shoulder and flashes the ability to dive and haul in the extraordinary catch.
Good vision to set up blocks. Good bloodlines. Father, Paul, Sr., played wide receiver in the NFL with Philadelphia, Oakland, Green Bay and the New York Jets.
Weaknesses: Very slim build and has struggled with durability throughout his career. Doesn’t track the ball over his shoulder as well as he should for a receiver who makes his living on big plays. Too often senses the oncoming defender and allows the pass to slip through his fingers. Doesn’t offer much as a downfield blocker.
Compares to: Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers. Some will compare Richardson to Sanders’ more established teammate Antonio Brown. Until Richardson (and Sanders) catch the ball with more consistency, however, each is likelier to earn more of a complementary role in the NFL despite natural playmaking ability.
The NFL is a sucker for speed at the receiver position, and few possess a more exciting combination of height and explosiveness than Richardson.
Despite limited weapons around him, Richardson scored 20 touchdowns during his illustrious career with the Buffaloes, averaging an eye-popping 41.8 yards per score. Richardson answered critics who questioned his ability to stay healthy with a career-high 79 receptions for 1,280 yards and 10 scores for Colorado in 2013, proving remarkably explosive after missing the 2012 season with a torn ACL.
Richardson’s less than ideal frame might best be protected as a third or fourth receiver in the NFL. Considering how often teams utilize multiple receiver sets in today’s pass-happy offenses, that won’t necessarily mean that he’ll make it out of the top 100.
Not a BAD pick, but a little bit of a puzzler this early in the draft. As the old saw goes, you can’t coach speed and this guy has plenty of it, although they said the same thing about David Daniels and other previous Seahawks draft choices…hell, even Steve Raible was a burner coming out of Georgia Tech. As it is, the Seahawks roster is stocked with undersized WRs already and Richardson has a history of injuries that you’d think would have made JS hesitant to pick him, given the team’s history with Harvin and Rice.
If Richardson’s healthy, PC will find a place for him because he can do some things to replace Tate. Most of us have learned to not doubt JS or PC this time of year.