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Packers Podcast: Sheldon Richardson is One Player Worth Trading Up For

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Packers Podcast: Sheldon Richardson is One Player Worth Trading Up For

On Thursday I joined SportsLine on WDUZ 107.5 FM The Fan in Green Bay to talk about the NFL Draft (which, by the way, was Cheesehead TV's first ever radio appearance in Green Bay!). I shared my thoughts on several NFL prospects, including Missouri defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, SMU defensive lineman Margus Hunt and Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert, among others.

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Brian Carriveau is the author of "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and an editor at Cheesehead TV. To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (51) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PackerNation's picture

At 295 pounds, he would be the smallest member of our defensive line...a defensive line that got pushed around by SF and Minnesota last year. He makes our defense smaller.

He's a quick, penetrating type guy, but he's not going to be able to hold his gap against the double team any better than Jerel Worthy did.

Additionally, both Raji and Pickett are in the last years of their deal. If we're going to draft a DL in the first, he should be a guy who could replace one of those guys, not somebody 40 pounds lighter.

No to Richardson. Not the right player for what ails the Green Bay defense.

CSS's picture

He's the only defensive lineman I watched all of last year that battered the Alabama offensive line for 4 quarters, won at the line of scrimmage and held the point of attack. That Alabama line may have been the best collegiate line line I've ever seen. I watched Richardson play 3 games last year and it's his length (great arm length), athleticism and violent hand use that make him potentially dominant in all phases at the next level.

Richardson is a 3 down lineman and capable of being a dominant nickle rusher (which almost every NFL defense spends the majority of their snaps in). He can be an all-pro by year 2 & 3.

PackerNation's picture

Since 2005, 62 defensive linemen have been selected in the first round; six have made the Pro Bowl : DonkeyKong Suh, Pierre-Paul, Raji, Mario Williams, Haloti Ngata, and Tambi Hali. Except for Hali, they were all taken in the first half of the first round, including two overall #1s.

So yes, Richardson could become a Pro Bowler in his second or third year, but the odds are 9-1 against it. Hell, 11 of the 62 defensive linemen selected in the first round are already out of the league!!!

Lots of guys played well enough in college that they deserved to be drafted in the first round. Just ask Jamal Reynolds, Ryan Leaf, Vernon Gholston, etc. etc. etc. It doesn't always translate.

I have nothing against Richardson. He may be a helluva player. Maybe he will be a Pro-Bowler. But for a defense trying to get bigger, he's not the answer.

CSS's picture

Have you watched him play in games? Are any of my points above off-base? He has the 'length' teams are looking for and his actual play in games shows he's disruptive if not stout against the run.

PackerNation's picture

None of your points are off base? Are any of mine?

CSS's picture

"None of your points are off base?"

Are you asking me or telling me?

Honest question, have you watched Richardson play in games?

PackerNation's picture

I would suggest you might want to spend a little time at footballoutsiders.com and educate yourself as to how they weight various considerations. For a decade at least, they've been one of the more reputable sources for quality metrics. Then we could have a discussion.

You like Richardson. Fine. You're entitled to that. Two of the last 62 defensive linemen drafted in the first round have made All-Pro and one of them was an overall #1.

He's a good college player. Lots of guys are good college players. He's not going to fix what ails the Green Bay defense.

PackerNation's picture

Your point that he could be an All-Pro in his second or third season is tenuous, at best. Only two of the last 62 defensive linemen drafted in the first round have gone to the Pro Bowl within their first three years.

Other than that, you are correct that he played well against Alabama, and that he's probably a three down defensive lineman.

And no. I don't actually watch football games. I'm just a dummy on an internet message board.[/sarcasm]

CSS's picture

I'm quite familiar with FO, PFF, Stats Inc. and other statistical analytics related to the NFL. Count me among the individuals that use statistical analytics as a baseline for the beginning of a conversation, not a self-evident end-point. i.e. they're extremely limited.

Feel like I'm swimming in Non sequiturs and lacking answers. Enjoy the draft.

ArodMoney's picture

Hey PackerNation, your stats are wrong so you're points ARE off base.

Gerald McCoy
JJ Watt

Both were pro bowlers last year. So thats one point thats wrong.

The only two pro bowl comment is obviously wrong(you probably mean all-pro).

Also if you're trying to use Footballoutsiders to evaluate who to draft then you are 'just a dummy on an internet message board'. Saying you don't want to draft a defensive lineman in the first round because the odds are he won't pan out is crazy. I'm sure Texans fans were pissed when they got JJ Watt because it was 'unlikely' he would go to a pro bowl in his first three years.

And lastly you still haven't said if you've watched him play, which I take as meaning you haven't. Try again man.

PackerNation's picture

Yes, you are right....I did overlook those two. And since eight out of 62 is totally different than six out out 62 it means that it totally invalidates my point that he's more likely to be out of the league in five years than he is to be a Pro Bowler.

Oh wait, it doesn't. Never mind.

Yes, I've seen the great Sheldon Richardson play. What does that change?

I've never claimed any NFL cred as a player, scout or coach. That's why I wouldn't make a ridiculous statement like "he could be an All-Pro in two or three years". I certainly couldn't ascertain that from watching him in three games and I don't see how anybody else could.

He's a good player. Very good first step. And he would be the lightest player on a D-line that already got pushed around by the bigger O-lines in the league.

Skip Bayless is a writer... a sports journalist. He's paid to give his opinion. It doesn't mean he knows squat about squat. A football coach is actually paid to teach the game of football to people, everything from how to put on your pads to running a 26 counter trap and beyond. If he doesn't know anything, it quickly becomes apparent on the field.

I never said I wouldn't draft a defensive lineman in the first round. I never said Richardson wasn't going to be a good pro. I just said I wouldn't take this guy because he makes our defense smaller instead of bigger. I also disputed the "All Pro in his second or third year" statement.

Drealyn Williams's picture

If the Packers were to trade up in the 1st -- I would hope it's for an LB or OL.

Lars's picture

Love Richardson. But, he's probably best suited for DT in a 4/3. He'd be wasted in Capers scheme trying to tie up blockers at end part time.

PackerNation's picture

Exactly.

CSS's picture

Why 'exactly'? They're still going to play at least 65% of their snaps in sub-packages and nickle where they need a pass rusher. No team plays a pure 'insert base defense' here scheme. The Packers problem wasn't getting mauled last year on 1st and 2nd downs, it was getting off the field on 3rd downs.

PackerNation's picture

Not entirely true. According to footballoutsiders.com, our defensive line was 4th against the pass and 22nd against the run. We got mauled plenty on first and second down runs, too.

According to http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/sortableStatsTeam?div=NFL&sortType=defe...

The Packer defense trailed only SF and Seattle in 3rd down defense.

Here's the story: We gave up over 700 yards rushing in our last three games.

Getting smaller on the defensive line doesn't fix that.

CSS's picture

Total yardage has little to do with down-and-distance. And without knowing how footballoutsiders weights their criteria it's moot.

Jamie's picture

If you look at a couple of our more recent 2nd round picks, in Neal and Worthy, it appears Richardson would fit their mold of quick(er) twitch but stout and versatile D-linemen.

That said, talent wise, Richardson appears to be closer to an elite prospect compared to those two.

I guess what I am saying, is I believe Richardson fits the profile as a first round talent that TT would strongly consider...maybe even consider moving up for.

He kinda reminds me of a slightly heavier and not quite as quick Adrian Clayborn...though that may be the college uniform or that I also really liked Clayborn when he came out of college.

PackerNation's picture

I'm sorry, I couldn't edit, but I made a mistake. That was in the playoffs. During the regular season, the Packers were 15th in 3rd down defense. My mistake.

I still think the central point.....that we had as much trouble on first and second down as we did on third....is valid.

Brian Carriveau's picture

I understand the concerns about size, it's definitely something the Packers could use. But I think with Richardson, you're getting a player somewhat similar to Cullen Jenkins, especially from a pass rush standpoint, but with a higher ceiling and a better player against the run. But for sure, even if you add Richardson, the Packers probably still have to add another 330+ lb. player in another season.

PackerNation's picture

This is the second message board today where somebody has gone "Cullen Jenkins".

Fine. Cullen Jenkins was a UDFA. His best season for us, 2010, he had seven sacks. www.pro-football-reference rates him as the 2,130th best player at his position over the past 60 years.

So if we could get Richardson as a UDFA, or even a 6th round pick, and he had a career comprable to Jenkins, I'd be fine with that.

Go back and look at these defensive linemen drafted in the middle of the first round over the past decade. There's a lot more misses than hits. But we continue to hype these guys because they're big, fast, and they played well in college.

I don't know how old any of you guys are, but I remember how we thought Jamal Reynolds was going to be a great pro. Amobi Okoye...a monster. And more often than not, these guys accomplish little to nothing.

Again....out of the last 62 first round defensive linemen selected, TWO have made All-Pro and ELEVEN are out of the league already.

If you think Sheldon Richardson is so freakin' great that he'll beat those odds, I'd like to get together and play some poker with y'all.

Morgan Mudane's picture

They ain't trading up for no one. Ted has a ton of needs to fill and may very well give the 1 away for more later picks, people he can afford.

PackerNation's picture

CSS says:

Feel like I’m swimming in Non sequiturs and lacking answers.

Let's recap:

I said No to Richardson because he would make our defense smaller.

CSS says that Richardson played really well in the three games he watched and did really well against the Alabama line. He also said that he thought Richardson could be an All-Pro in his second or third year.

I said that only six out of 62 first round defensive linemen even made the Pro Bowl, and only two made All-Pro. Eleven are already out of the league. I gave some example of highly hyped guys coming out of college who had less-than-stellar pro careers.

CSS responded by saying "Are any of my points not true?" and wondering if I ever watched Richardson.

Of course, I think that saying he might be a future All-Pro before he's played a single down in the NFL is kind of a shaky point. So I responded with a question mark to that...rather than get in a tedious argument....and asked him if any of my points were wrong?

He ignored that question and asked me if actually watched the guy play. Again. So I responded to that kind of sarcastically.

I also conceded that he might be a helluva player. I agreed with another poster who pointed out that Richardson's quick, penetration skills were not particularly well suited for a defensive scheme that requires the DL to absorb blockers.

CSS pointed out that teams play nickel a lot, and he could be a pass rusher, too. Then he went too far and said our problem was third down.

The evidence shows that third down wasn't particularly problematic for us, but our run defense was essentially non-existent against the better offensive lines: Giants, Vikings, SF.

So he says he wasn't familiar with how footballoutsiders.com weights their metrics.

So I told him to learn.

Then he says he's very familiar with them.

Then he says my argument is essentially non-sequiters.......

Sheesh. Hey...I freely admit I'm no draft genius. I mean, if I could watch a guy on TV for three games and know he'd be a great pro, I'd quit my job and become an NFL Scout. And I'd get hired.

But I do know math, and the math clearly shows that Sheldon Richardson is only slightly more likely to become an All-Pro than CSS is.

cow42's picture

i love lamp.

Evan's picture

I like this new cow.

cow42's picture

i have many layers.
think bloomin' onion.

Chip Soup's picture

Is one of your layers named 'PackerNation'?

CSS's picture

First, learn causation vs. Correlation in your deeply flawed argument via statistics. Secondly, do you even understand why defense tackles have high historical bust rates? Finally, what does weight have to do with defending the read option? How does size compared to athleticism make for a better defense? You think you're introducing evidence for your position when it's hardly even tangential.

PackerNation's picture

Obviously, you're highly intelligent and very knowledgable about football. You've probably made a fortune with all you know.

Me....all I made out of my football knowledge was enough to pay off my mortgage.

Richardson may be a great DL, like you think he is. But the odds STRONGLY indicate that he won't be. I've been watching, playing, and coaching football since 1965. You should stop presuming you somehow know more than other people, because you don't.

What does weight have to do with the read option? Do you even know what a small percentage of the 700+ yards we gave up in the last three games was on the read option?

You can call them statistics, but it doesn't change the fact that they are facts.

murphy's picture

"Me….all I made out of my football knowledge was enough to pay off my mortgage."

Good stuff, Rocky. So did Skip Bayless.

What are your NFL playing/coaching credentials?

Stroh's picture

No way Thompson trades up for Richardson. It would take our 2nd to even get close and possibly more to move up to get him. Thompson is not going to trade his 1st and 2nd to move up the 10 spots it would take to get him. And I would say that is definitely NOT worth the trade up to get given the high bust rate for DT. Now if it was for a LT, which are rarely busts in the top 16 picks, I might be able to see Thompson doing it under different circumstances (if he hadn't used a 1st on Bulaga and Sherrod in recent years). Given the circumstances and cost I can't see any way Thompson would make that move.

al's picture

hes not for greenbay ol,dt are the only pic i want too see at #26

al's picture

hes a older player and just think you need young player with start ability in first round take someone like sam montgomery DE 6,5 270lbs out of LSU no player on the packers is taller 6,3 is the next tallest pass blocking is game of inches i see this kid makes inpack on pass rush causeing more turn overs then in the pass long arm of the law as i see it please let me no what you fans think of this guy ty. Al Murphy????

cow42's picture

a 270 lb 3/4 de...
yeah - that oughta' work.

Stroh's picture

Montgomery is listed as 6'3 262, not 6'5 270. Either way he is a 34 OLB like Matthews and Perry, not a 34 DE. I agree we need some 34 DE that are taller and longer but they also need to be bigger and heavier. THe 34 DE should be 6'4+ and 300+ lbs. I don't even consider a player for a 34 DE unless he is very near those numbers.

cow42's picture

i like...

campbell (mich)
francis (maryland)
jones (ucla)
kruger (utah)

...none of them are sure bets.

i don't like this draft's 3/4 DE crop AT ALL.

jones is a very good player... and he plays stronger than his weight... but he's still too light.

cross your fingers on neal and jolly, and hope wilson progresses i guess.

Stroh's picture

I agree I don't like the 34 DE in this draft. The 1st round guys are all much better 43 DT and NT than 34 DE. Been sayin that for couple months. Kawaan Short would be my choice in 1st or 2nd among 34 DE's.

The guy I like later in the draft is Nick Williams, Samford. Small school guy w/ terrific size 6'5 310 and atheleticism. Can't find any film/highlights of him but he got perfect size and is a very good athlete. Great developmental guy.

Campbell would be decent later too.

NashvillePacker's picture

I do like Kruger. Right sizable, bloodlines and production.

mark's picture

I'm not into Sheldon Richardson at all. Wouldn't want him at 26, much less move up for him.

NashvillePacker's picture

It seems coach Trgovac mentioned the need for longer defensive end. I feel like the team plays sub packages because it lacks a qualified 5 technique. With that in mind Richardson is probably unworthy of sacrificing multiple picks to trade up.

I'd be interested in Hunt or a nose tackle who could compliment or replace Pickett/Raji.

Does anybody like John Jenkins as a first round pick? I do.

Stroh's picture

Jenkins is falling. Most think he's a late 2nd or 3rd round pick. He's top heavy and loses balance too easily. Its all about the legs in football, you gotta have really strong, heavy legs on the DL to anchor. I wouldn't touch Jenkins till the 3rd.

If we go DL in the top 2 rounds I would get Kawann Short. 6'3 and 303 but has excellent strength and really long arms, almost 35 in, to help him control the OL. He's also adept at disrupting passing lanes w/ those long arms, which btw are much longer than Hunts. He's much better in that regard than Hunt. Hunt is a better edge rusher, but our DE's move to DT in pass rush and Short is a better pass rusher inside. Short is much better suited to 34 DE than Hunt IMO.

Stroh's picture

I've been looking at Hunt quite a bit and I've become convinced that at 6'8 277, he would be a better OLB for the Packers than a DE. His quickness and agility numbers are considerably better than Perry's. I don't think Hunt would be able to learn to play in space as an OLB but he is quicker and more agile than Perry was last year. His learning curve for OLB would be considerably longer than DE. He would get pushed around on the DL cuz he's too tall and doesn't use good leverage, but in space his athleticism would be more apparent. Hunt needs to play 43 DE, not 34 DE, IMO.

hump's picture

you heard it here first!!! tyler eifert will be green bays selection at pick 26 if he's there,BOOK IT!!!! the most cant miss player in this draft!!!! no need to talk d line, if he's gone cyprien or reid

Stroh's picture

Eifert will not be GB pick at 26! Book it!

packsmack25's picture

No chance. TT would never take any receiver in the first round. When you have a draft and develop philosophy, you can't throw away first round picks on positions that normally take 3 years to develop.

mark's picture

How do you figure? Cobb, Nelson and Jennings were all picked in round 2, and none of them took 3 years to develop.

With two cornerstone elements of the pass game (80 + 85) now gone, you better believe TT is looking to add depth and possibly a star at WR.

I actually think if DeAndre Hopkins is on the board, he will be the Packers' pick. And I would be thrilled with that pick. Problem is, I don't think he will be there.

Stroh's picture

Jordy stepped up a little end of his 2nd season, see SB highlights, but it wasn't till his 3rd season that he broke out. It had been a pretty good rule of thumb that WR took into the 3rd season to show their true talent. That's been cut by a year IMO. Most WR still have to learn to run better routes in the NFL. That's changing somewhat. Jones was pretty inconsistent till this past year when he finally put it all together. Prior to that he wasn't ready for a starting role like he is now.

With Nelson, Jones, Cobb and Finley the Packers still have very good quality and depth for recievers. In addition Boykin is almost a clone of Jones and w/ last year and another year this coming, I could see him taking Jones spot. Driver was non-existent last year. I wouldn't draft a WR early, but if one falls Thompson won't hesitate to take one. I wouldn't say its by any means a necessity tho.

packsmack25's picture

Cobb is not your typical wide receiver, and he's somewhat of an exception that proves the rule, but still required a year of seasoning. Jennings was unbelievably polished as a route runner and became the #1 option for Brett pretty quickly, but still didn't really break out until year two. Nelson didn't become a big-time receiver until his third season. They weren't picked in the first round. Why would TT feel a need to draft a receiver in the first when he's had so much success with developing second and third rounders? That would be stupid.

The three year development rule isn't set in stone. Certainly there have been receivers that have broken the mold, like Randy Moss or Anquan Boldin. But generally speaking, you're going to have to wait for a receiver to "get it" at the pro level. That's why picking them in the first is a tenuous idea.

Evan's picture

While Jennings had a nice year 2 (53/920), I'd say year 3 was his breakout (80/1292).

packsmack25's picture

The 12 TDs were a pretty big breakout in year two though.

Evan's picture

No doubt. I left that stat out because TDs tend to fluctuate so greatly year to year.

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