New York Jets select Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson with the 13th overall pick

Doug Farrar
April 26, 2013

The New York Jets have selected Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson with the 13th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.

Pros: Absolutely marvelous gap penetrator with the quick-twitch speed and hand movement to upset any blocker. Has a very quick first step off the snap and propels himself through the action. Sifts through blockers well (including double-teams) when angling and trying to beat slide protection. Keeps his head up and his body balanced after initial blocking contact, allowing him to make plays after fist impact. Gets skinny off the snap when facing a single blocker -- will turn his body to get through and has an impressive rip move to reinforce it. Can maul if he gets his hands up before the blocker, though this isn't his predominant attribute. Keeps his feet moving and will wear double teams down. Keeps his eye on the play and will disengage from blockers quickly to make plays downfield. Terrific space defender for his size -- will careen from sideline to sideline more quickly than a big man should. Has the pure agility to back into defense on screen passes, and the ability to drop in zone blitzes.

Cons: Richardson is not a consistent physical "winner" in that he will get stoned by more powerful blockers, especially in the run game. Will also tend to get boxed out if he's moving to the side and into the pocket. Comes off the snap too high at times, leading him to lose leverage and angle battles he should win. Limited experience at the FBS level could hurt him on some draft boards, but his play against better teams will more than make up for it on others.

What he brings to the team: Scary gap versatility. Richardson's first step is what makes him truly special, but make no mistake -- this is a player with a fantastic overall skill set with the ability to be an impact player from the start in the NFL. In addition, his positional versatility will make him indispensable to Rex Ryan.His best position might be as a three-tech tackle with his upper-body strength and agility, but he'll also be able to move with the NFL trend of linemen becoming more position-versatile.
Was it the right pick? Without question. Richardson might be the best defensive tackle in this class when all is said and done.