Video, per YouTube
|Year ||Receptions ||Yards ||Average ||Touchdowns |
|2010 ||34 ||514 ||15.1 ||6 |
|2011* ||39 ||555 ||14.2 ||5 |
|2013 ||83 ||1,343 ||16.2 ||10 |
*Played in nine games
Athleticism: It doesn’t take you long too realize just how supremely athletic Richardson is with a combination of speed, quick feet and elusiveness.
I’ll start with the speed where every game you see just how quickly he can get down the field on go-routes, sprinting past the cornerback and leaving the safety in his dust.
At this point it’s all on the quarterback to just find Richardson open and deliver it to him for the wide-open touchdown.
One reason Richardson does a good job getting open is because of his quick feet at the line of scrimmage. Just the little movements to quickly put himself into position to create separation from the defensive back allowing him to break into his route and get open down the field or across the middle.
Once he has the ball in his hands, Richardson has the elusiveness to make defenders miss with cuts and quick moves to break free and create a big play
Body Control: While Richardson has the athleticism to create big plays and get open, one thing that really impressed me was his body control and willingness to go up and make contested catches. On numerous occasions, Richardson shows the ability to adjust his body while in motion to find the football and bring it in. He knows how to put himself in the best position to catch it and will only get better as he increases his strength. I’ve also been impressed by Richardson’s willingness to go up and catch the football even with contact. While he missed some catches this year on contested catches it was more because of the use of his hands rather than a desire to go up and try and retrieve it. Richardson also isn’t afraid of contact, with a one-handed diving grab against Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu really standing out. Despite Olomu grabbing onto his left arm and drawing a pass interference flag, Richardson made a sensational grab with one hand and brought it in for the first down.
Size: I have no issues with Richardson’s height at 6’1” but when he trains for the draft, a focus has to be on spending time in the weight room and improving his strength. Richardson weighs in at just 170 lbs. and while that may work for some 5’10” players, it’s a bigger issue when you are taller than 6’0”. You see Richardson’s thin frame when watching him, he doesn’t have a lot of strength and while he can fight for contested catches, he ends up losing the battle against bigger cornerbacks. What makes Richardson’s potential really scary is the fact that he has the frame to add on more muscle and still maintain his outstanding athleticism.
Hands: Hands are the most important trait for a wide receiver and the biggest difference maker when it comes to having a long, successful career or an infuriating career filled with flashy places and plenty of groans for every drop.
Richardson does a nice job tracking the football and going up for contested catches, but too many times this season he dropped a wide open pass both deep down the field and on shorter routes.
He shows flashes of brilliance with highlight reel one handed catches and making great grabs with a hand in his face, but right now there just isn’t enough consistency with catching the ball with his hands instead of his body.
Richardson had a great year in 2013, but it could have been even better if not for big drops when he was open downfield. He will frustrate coaches at times but with continued improvement, drops will become less of an issue and Richardson will be able to maximize on his potential and make even more big plays.
NFL Player Comparison:
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
While Hilton has dealt with plenty of ups and downs this season, he was at his best when Reggie Wayne was on the field and allowed Hilton to work against single coverage without having to deal with a safety. Once Wayne went down, opposing teams started to plan against Hilton’s speed, and eliminated his ability to get open deep down the field.
Hilton and Richardson are similar, but I think Richardson has the chance to be better than. He has a bigger frame and with added strength will match up better with stronger defensive backs, and Richardson shows more ability with his route-running. He needs to continue to improve with his hands and not catching the ball with his body, but there is a lot of upside to love with Richardson.
Richardson had a breakout season in 2013 and made the decision to leave Colorado early and enter the 2014 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, the 2014 class is loaded at wide receiver and that’s even with the assumption that a star player like Kelvin Benjamin returns to school. Richardson offers plenty of speed and potential, but he still needs to improve his hands and spend time in the weight room. Richardson’s potential will certainly attract teams and he should end up hearing his name called in the middle or late end of the second round.
Richardson really could be a fit for any NFL team, although teams who love to attack with the vertical-passing game will be more attracted to drafting the speedster. They will certainly have to keep him in the weight room for an offseason before he can truly sustain a lot of hits at the NFL level, but he can serve in a significant role as a rookie. What teams will fall in love with is his long-term potential and the chance that he could be great.
The Arizona Cardinals could be looking for a speedster like Richardson for Bruce Arian’s offense, Richardson could also be a fit for a team like the Kansas City Chiefs who need to bring in more playmakers and open up the offense more for Alex Smith