It was Oakland Raiders rookie QB Derek Carr who was the star of the final preseason game, but Seattle Seahawks rookie WR Paul Richardson silently showed why Pete Carroll and John Schneider drafted him with their first pick in the second round (No. 45 overall). The stat line won’t show it — two catches, 16 yards — but Richardson displayed the ability that could make him deadly.
The numbers should be a lot more impressive. Richardson was once underthrown by QB B.J. Daniels on a deep route that caused Richardson, who had two steps on the defender, to backpedal, which allowed the Raiders’ cornerback to gain ground and break up the pass. Daniels later threw a laser towards Richardson, but it was badly overthrown. Richardson leaped for the ball and made a poorly thrown pass look possible before coming down hard on the dirt.
Those are only two plays, but those are two plays that would have done some damage. Richardson is not the type of receiver who is going to catch 8-10 passes a game. He is the type of receiver who is going to make a huge play and break your spirit with his speed and ability at any given time, much like DeSean Jackson.
The most impressive play was the toe-tap catch he made on the sideline on third down. QB Terrelle Pryor felt pressure and quickly threw a fastball towards Richardson, who made a textbook play on the ball. The play was so fast and so close to the sideline that the refs originally ruled it an incomplete pass. After further review, however, it was overturned and the Seahawks were rewarded with a first-down. The catch was significant because it showed Richardson’s awareness and ability; he is capable of way more than running deep and catching bombs. It actually reminded me a lot of WR Doug Baldwin.
P-Rich still has a long ways to go; he is still learning the game, after all. Richardson will be limited to start the season as he sits behind WR Ricardo Lockette (rightfully so). This has caused a little bit of concern for some, but Lockette is entering his fifth season in the league and has greatly improved over the years. Richardson has yet to play a meaningful NFL game. I imagine he will start the season with limited action, but as the year progresses, so will his development and so will his playing time.
You may have to wait a little bit, but Richardson is going to be a real force for the Seahawks.