Well, that took a long time, but it finally happened. The New York Jets have signed one of their top two picks, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. The defensive lineman is expected to sign a four-year deal worth around $10 million—just in time for training camp.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said Richardson was impressive during May’s minicamps, and his talent will help shoring up the team’s defensive line.
The defensive tackle’s game is more than just about stats, if you’ve seen him play, you know how disruptive he can be. If you haven’t, we’ll take a look at his stats: In two FBS seasons and one in SEC, Richardson totaled 112 tackles, six sacks, four forced fumbles and four passes defended. And he did this against some top competition (read: Alabama game).
The big man can penetrate the gap with quick speed and strength to blow past any blocker. Richardson can sift through blockers, including double-teams, with his high motor. He always keeps his eyes on the ball to make plays anywhere on the field. He is also a great space defender, capable of moving from sideline to sideline with enough speed to make the play, which is impressive for a guy his size.
Richardson is agile and can back into defense on screen passes and can drop in zone blitzes. Although he played in the one-gap, 4-3 scheme in college, he has the skill and athleticism to play in the 3-4 front. Sheldon Richardson has a great overall skill set and is versatile, and can immediately be an impact player for the New York Jets.
With the addition of the rookie lineman, just imagine how good the Jets’ defensive line can be now and in the future with Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis and Quinton Coples.