Unpacking Future Packers: No. 88, Texas A&M DB Demani Richardson

Help needed. The Green Bay Packers are looking for safety help this offseason. If they were to play a game today, the two starting safeties would be Anthony Johnson Jr and Benny Sapp.

With safety being the biggest need, expect Brian Gutekunst to add a safety or two in the 2024 NFL Draft. A player that Gutekunst could target on Day 3 of the upcoming draft is Demani Richardson. The Texas A&M safety checks in at No. 88 in the Unpacking Future Packers countdown.

Richardson, a Texas native, finished his career at College Station with 55 starts under his belt. He burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2019, recording 71 tackles and one interception. In eight games the following season, Richardson recorded 2.5 tackles for loss and one interception. The following season, the Texas native recorded 65 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and one interception.

In 2022, Richardson recorded a team-leading 73 tackles to go along with 2.5 tackles for loss and one interception. This past season, Richardson recorded 59 tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack.

“Performing at strong safety for the last five seasons, Richardson’s on-field leadership combined with his impressive speed and instincts, specifically thriving as a run defender for the entirety of his starting career,” Cameron Ohnysty, the editor for Aggies Wire, said. “Working with multiple defensive coordinators, including new Texas A&M head coach Mike Elko, Richardson could always be depended on to simply do his job on every snap.”

Richardson is a good-sized athlete, who can play multiple roles for a defense. During his time at Texas A&M, he logged 1,340 snaps at safety, 605 snaps in the slot and over 1,000 snaps in the box.

“Playing at both safety and nickelback in many defensive packages, Richardson’s size and ability weave his way through rushing lanes and provide a hybrid linebacker-like ability is where he’ll likely thrive at the next level compared to his coverage skills outside of the intermediate,” Ohnysty said. “However, though he doesn’t possess top-end speed, Richardson should surprise scouts with his ability to cover deep routes.”

Richardson is at his best playing downhill and closer to the line of scrimmage. While not an explosive athlete, he has the fluidity and short-area quickness to hold in coverage in the slot. He shows good route instincts and stays patient in coverage. With his size and strength, he has the makeup to cover tight ends.

Working downhill and sifting through the trash is where Richardson excels. He showcases good closing burst to the ball carrier and takes proper angles. This past season he had a high batting average as a tackler, getting tagged with just six missed tackles.

“This is where he thrives,” Ohnysty said. “Richardson has a nose for the ball and understands blocking schemes and running back tendencies while consistently delivering big hits to significantly increase the chance of a fumble.”

Richardson finished his career at Texas A&M with 532 snaps on special teams. It’s an area where he could provide an immediate impact as a rookie.

Fit with the Packers

With his experience on special teams, his versatility and his football acumen, Richardson is a well-rounded safety who could be an attractive Day 3 target for the safety-needy Packers.

“As soon as his rookie season, any team willing to give him a chance is getting a dedicated worker who will immediately provide solid play as a special teamer while working his way up the depth chart as a rotational option at strong or free safety,” Ohnysty said. “Most importantly, Richardson is the guy you want in your locker room and will do anything a coaching staff asks of him for the entirety of his NFL career.”

Richardson is one of the most seasoned safeties in the 2024 NFL Draft. On top of all the snaps he logged at College Station, he also has a ton of experience playing on special teams. He’s a great communicator, and while he isn’t a world-class athlete, he’s always where he needs to be and gets the ducks in a row in the secondary.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire