It was not at all shocking to see the Seattle Seahawks spend a second-round draft pick on a wide receiver. However, the common misconception amongst Seahawk fans recently is that wide receiver Paul Richardson was drafted to be Golden Tate’s replacement. This couldn’t be further from the truth, though Richardson is expected to have a similar impact on the Hawks’ offense.
With the 13th pick in the second round, the Seahawks drafted Richardson out of the University of Colorado. Prior to the draft, many suggested his skillset was similar to that of Pro Bowler Desean Jackson, the enigmatic receiver who signed with the Washington Redskins this offseason.
While that is quite the compliment, it doesn’t necessarily match up with the mold one would create to replace a player like Golden Tate. While Tate is certainly capable of winning deep, he isn’t necessarily known for his blazing speed. In fact, he was most often noted for his ability to turn into a running back after the catch and bounce off defensive backs seemingly with ease, a trait Richardson will probably not become famous for.
Yet, that doesn’t mean Richardson won’t make an impact in Seattle. While his height at six feet tall may be shorter than coaches would like, early word from OTAs is that Richardson’s addition has given the Seahawks receiving corps speed to burn. Perhaps more importantly though, he is making a conscious effort to put on good weight while maintaining the speed that drew the eyes of head coach Pete Carroll and Seahawks GM John Schneider.
Of course, there may be someone even more important for Richardson to impress: starting quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wilson was the model of consistency for his first two seasons in the NFL, capping his sophomore year with an emphatic 43-8 Super Bowl victory over Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Clearly, adding Richardson to an already productive mix gives Seattle’s signal caller another legitimate burner to put on the field alongside Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin.
Jermaine Kearse remains on the roster as well, and this offseason veteran receiver Sidney Rice was re-signed to a one year deal, giving Seattle plenty of options to choose from amongst the influx of rookie talent. Unfortunately for the veterans, however, that influx also means neither will be guaranteed a roster spot while Richardson and fellow rookie receiver Kevin Norwood are near locks.
Understandably, many fans expect to see their draft class pay immediate dividends, particularly when it comes to skill position players, but in Seattle, Carroll has set a clear and obvious standard in the past when it comes to receivers: if you can’t run routes, you won’t be on the field. He expects mistake-free football from every aspect of his team.
Therefore, the next few weeks will be critical for Richardson and the entire rookie class. As the Seahawks begin OTAs and inch toward Training Camp, coaches will be looking for young players to soak in as much as possible during their transition to the NFL. With competition at the core of Carroll’s coaching philosophy, Richardson will likely have every opportunity to get on the field and contribute.
How soon that happens will depend entirely on how quickly Richardson can transition from lining up against Colorado’s defense in practice every day, to lining up against the Legion of Boom on a day-to-day basis. Good luck rook.