Back in late March, the Philadelphia Eagles cut wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Upon his release, the Seattle Seahawks were one of many teams who were interested in acquiring the veteran receiver out of the University of California. With Percy Harvin healthy, he and Jackson would have given Seattle one of the most dynamic receiving duos in the NFL.
The Seahawks needed another receiver to come in and compete after the Detroit Lions outbid Seattle for Golden Tate. Unfortunately, the Seahawks were unable to make much ground on Jackson because his price tag was way too high. Jackson ended up signing with the Washington Redskins, and the Seahawks were forced to move on to other options.
Enter rookie wideout Paul Richardson, a second-round pick out of the University of Colorado. Richardson has the same traits as Jackson with a much lower price tag. The similarities are undeniable. Both have excellent speed. Both are deep threats on every down. Both played in the Pac-12 (it was the Pac-10 when Jackson played at Cal). Both had 1,000-yard receiving seasons in college. Both were second-round draft picks.
Richardson will even be wearing the same number Jackson did in Philadelphia: No. 10 (Jackson will wear No. 11 for the Redskins this year).
Of course, similar traits doesn’t always mean similar results. Jackson has gone on to be a three-time Pro Bowler and one of the elite deep threats in the entire league. With Harvin, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse as the first three wideouts, Richardson is competing with Ricardo Lockette and Phil Bates to earn a spot as the fourth receiver in Seattle’s run-first offense.
It will be nearly impossible for Richardson to replicate Jackson’s rookie numbers (62 receptions for 912 yards) this season, but that’s not what the Seahawks are asking of him. Seattle wants a deep threat receiver to complement Harvin and the rest of the Seahawks’ receiving corps.
Richardson has already lit it up in training camp, too. He has sped past the secondary to catch long touchdown passes nearly every practice. But he isn’t just a burner; Richardson’s speed forces defenses to play off him and give him cushion to work underneath. In last week’s preseason opener against the Denver Broncos, he led the Seahawks in receiving with four receptions for 37 yards, all of which came on shorter routes. If he can continue do that, he will find himself in the regular rotation.
He may not put up Jackson’s numbers, but Richardson can be just as effective in this offense if he is properly utilized, and for a much lower cost. The potential is there.
Connor Frederickson is a Blogger for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cfredrun