Originally written on Optimum Scouting  |  Last updated 11/30/12
A name that’s continually made positive and negative waves in the media this season, from his “old-man football” statements about Georgia’s style of play to an end of the year suspension that held him out of Missouri’s game at Syracuse, Sheldon Richardson has decided to move on to the next level and declare for the NFL Draft. Despite being a top rated defensive recruit in the 2009 class, Richardson was unable to finish enrollment at Missouri for his freshman season due to academic ineligibility, which resulted in a two-year stint at the junior college level. Still highly regarded after his 2010 season at the College of the Sequoias, Richardson was pursued heavily by USC and Missouri, before following through with his 2007 oral commitment to Missouri. After a so-so 2011 campaign that featured dashes of flash here and there from the talented redshirt junior, Sheldon Richardson turned into a monster in 2012 with a season to remember. While stats are only a fraction of the scouting process, the fact that Richardson nearly led his team in tackles with 75, while leading his team in TFL’s and sacks is downright remarkable. Coming into his own as an NFL prospect, Richardson combined his plus physical tools with improved technique and tremendous effort on a per-snap basis. Standing 6034, with long arms and a naturally powerful frame, Richardson more than looks the part of a 3-technique or RDE for some 4-3 teams. The Missouri DT dedicated himself before the season to taking care of his body, and in a story written by Terez Paylor from The Kansas City Star, dropped down from a 2011 playing weight of 315 pounds to a muscular 295 pounds. In Paylor’s article, Richardson claimed to have improved his bench press from 350 pounds to 400 pounds, in addition to being able to run a 4.7 40 yard dash. And while those numbers may have seemed out of proportion prior to this season, the tape of Richardson in 2012 versus SEC opponents has done nothing but further evidence this type of elite physical tools. Looking in at the football, Richardson does a great job of timing the snap count, firing off the line with low pad level and extended arms to immediately combat the opposing blocker’s hand usage. Instinctive and reactionary with his hands, Richardson combines his plus foot speed and agility with a developed repertoire of swim moves, rip moves, punch-and-pull moves, and fluid spin moves. Moreover, Richardson is able to anchor against the run, squeeze through double teams, or chase down ball carriers to the sideline, as a well-rounded defensive lineman that can be an every down impact player. The outstanding quickness and overall speed with which Richardson gets off the line of scrimmage, may even be best suited outside at a defensive end position along a 4-man front. Considering his improving body type, physical numbers, developed repertoire of rush moves and instinctually aggressive nature, Richardson’s ability to provide a threat inside or outside will ultimately place him high on many NFL draft boards. Questions regarding Sheldon Richardson’s draft stock will center on academic issues that have dogged him throughout his career at Missouri, College of the Sequoias and maybe further back into his high school days. As long as he answers those concerns through the interviewing process, I’m confident that this defensive lineman will skyrocket up draft boards come April and be one of the more productive defensive players to come out of the 2013 NFL Draft.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ukwuachu rape victim hires firm that prosecuted Winston

Leo Santa Cruz tops Abner Mares in slugfest

WATCH: Beckham makes great grab over Revis

SEC commissioner wrote classy note to injured Arkansas RB

John Daly taken to hospital after collapsing on course

Rex Ryan keeping Bills' starting quarterback a secret

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Braves fan dies after falling from upper deck

Randall Cobb suffers shoulder injury vs. Eagles

WATCH: John Harbaugh, Jay Gruden get into shouting match

WATCH: Brian Hartline drags toes on great TD catch

Julio Jones, Falcons agree on 5-year contract extension

WATCH: Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion blasts three homers, extends hit streak

WATCH: Ricardo Mayorga taunts Shane Mosley in ring, loses

Will Jimmer Fredette find success with Spurs?

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

American Pharoah upset at Travers Stakes

Steve Smith joins family in stands after getting ejected from game

WATCH: Cordarrelle Patterson rips off 107-yard return TD

Steve Sarkisian giving up most of USC's playcalling duties

Animal shelter cancels fundraiser at Heinz Field

Mets acquire RP Addison Reed from Diamondbacks

WATCH: James Rodriguez scores unreal goals

Vin Scully: I believe next year will be my last

Charles Barkley wants to blow his former agent’s brains out

The Texas Rangers are firing on all cylinders

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
OPTIMUM SCOUTING

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

Fantasy football round-by-round draft strategy

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

The Opening Drive: What happened to all the great Michigan tailbacks?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Five greatest NBA players of all-time

Finding signs of life for the Red Sox

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker