Prospect: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
By Clint Clearwater
NFL Draft Director and Senior Writer
December 22, 2012
6-3 Wt: 295 40: 4.89

Strengths:  Good size.  Very athletic for being such a big guy.  He is quite quick and has good movement skills.  Explosive; quick off the ball and is able to get good penetration.  Footwork is definitely a strength; does a good job of keeping his feet moving when engaged which helps him push the pocket.  Stays low which helps him have control of opposing linemen.  Great awareness and instincts; keeps his eyes on the football and the QB and gets his hands up.  Able to recognize plays developing.  Has a terrific motor.  Very sure tackler.  Is dominant at times.  He is a very solid at stopping the run and can stay on the field on passing downs (He can be an effective pass rusher).  Actually able to drop into coverage if asked.  Plays with good technique and hand use.  A lot of potential to be great.
Weaknesses: Strength is a question for me.  I saw him get beat on double teams throughout the tape I watched of him.  Now, he is able to fight through double teams most of the time, but on the times he got beat he struggled to disengage from the linemen.  This makes me question his upper body strength.  He needs to be able to shed blocks consistently; this is an area where he must improve. He was suspended for one game during this past season.  Stamina could be improved.  This isn’t a huge concern for me because I didn’t see it often on film, but I have seen plays where he simply looks tired and he is nowhere near as effective. Does not have a lot of experience against elite competition.                      

Summary:  Sheldon Richardson is an impressive athlete.  Anyone who watches film on him will see that.  He is big, but he is really fast.  I couldn’t believe how fluid his hips were for being such a big guy.  During the Texas A&M game he was actually used to ‘spy’ QB Johnny Manziel.  That is incredible for a DT and really impressed me.  The second thing that really stood out to me was how good of a motor he has.  He is determined and relentless when he is on the football field.  He will actually chase down WRs.  As a scout this is important to me.  Richardson put together a strong season this year and he did the right thing by declaring for the draft.  He’s got rare talent and potential to be a great NFL player.  He needs to improve on some areas (like all players do) but I believe he will only get better.

Draft Projection: Top 15