NFL Draft Profile: Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson

This is the seventh in a series.  Click the link for profiles on Florida’s Sharrif Floyd, Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, Alabama’s Dee Milliner, Utah’s Star Lotulelei, Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel and Oregon’s Dion Jordan. Between now and April’s draft, we’ll profile as many prospects as possible.


Sheldon Richardson hasn’t traveled the straightest path to get to this point.

Considered one of the top defensive linemen in the country coming out of high school in 2009, the St. Louis native originally chose to play for University of Missouri but was academically ineligible, and had to attend junior college instead. He finally joined the Tigers for the 2011 season but a shoulder injury slowed him down.

Richardson finally hit his stride last year. posting 75 tackles — 10.5 for loss — and 4.5 sacks. The disruptive  interior lineman garnered second-team All-SEC honors. He is considered one of the top linemen in the draft.

“I see myself as a top pick, not a top-10 pick,” said Richardson at the Combine. “I don’t come into this draft to be second to anyone, so if they see what they like, they’ll draft me. I’m going to be myself at all times, and you’re gonna get a helluva ballplayer.”


Greg Cosell (on the team’s website):

“He to me is a true three-technique just like Sharrif Floyd. Very, very athletic.

“The first thing that jumps out is, this guy moves — not like a 300-pound man. This kid is athletic. He presses to the play. I really liked him on film. He’s not quite Sharrif Floyd but I think he is a similar style player.”

Missouri defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski called Richardson a “Warren Sapp kind of guy.” From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal:

“He’s as talented a guy as I’ve coached…(Richardson) is a guy that weighs almost 300 pounds and can move like a linebacker. He’s very tough. He’s an instinctive football player. When you need somebody to make a play, he’ll be the guy that stands up to do it.

“He’s been focused on being a great football player his whole life. And sometimes that meant he wasn’t so focused in the classroom. As far as us just having him for a little while, it wasn’t because he was slacking on the football field. When he was in high school, he was the best player in the state for two years. When he went to junior college, he had 18 sacks as a freshman or some kind of crazy number and got hurt his second year and didn’t play. Whenever he has performed, he has performed at a high level.”


Richardson’s measurables (6-2, 294) are similar to Floyd’s (6-3, 298). Chip Kelly values speed and versatility, and Richardson seems to check both of those boxes. His ability to drop into coverage on one play and provide an inside pass rush the next could be appealing to Billy Davis, who would like to throw as many different looks at the opposing offense as possible.

Would he fit the scheme?

“I think his natural position is a three-technique defensive tackle in a four-man front but it’s not the only position he can play,” said Mayock. “You can move him around and just about all 32 teams in the league can find a way to use his skill set. He’s really exciting. He’s got a ton of upside and he’s as physically gifted a defensive player as there is in this draft.”

If Floyd is already off the board, it’s possible that the Eagles could trade back and nab Richardson if he is the type of player they are after. Although at least one mock-up has him going quite early…


Mike Florio has the DT going to the Eagles at No. 4

Mel Kiper has Richardson being selected by the Panthers at 14, as does Todd McShay.

Mike Mayock has Richardson as the second best tackle in the draft, behind Floyd.

Josh Norris over at Rotoworld has him ranked seventh overall in the entire draft class.

Great at splitting blocks, winning off the snap, or beating reach blocks. Very quick for his size and can really make his presence felt in the backfield as a three technique tackle or five technique end. Has been asked to drop back into short zones.


Here is how he fared against Alabama, the cream of the crop.

His lateral quickness is easy to see. Few tackles can go sideline to sideline with this type of ease.

You can get a good feel for his explosiveness at the 1:30 mark as he bursts through the hole and puts pressure on the QB. At the five-minute mark, he gets free and records a sack.

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  • GGeagle21

    i think if you trade back to the 10-14 Range, Sheldon is #1 on our wishlist, unless Star slides(Lane and Dion wont be available)…He is going to be a fantastic NFL player, but he needs some work. He is too hit or miss right now. You will either see him make the best play that you have ever seen, or you will see him, get blocked out of position creating a huge hole that the RB captitalizes on for an 8yard gain..When that does happen, I have to admit its so damn impressive to always see him, as the guy who chases and ends up catching these fast tiny college backs 8yards up even on his bad plays, he shows what an incredible athlete he is…Like Floyd, its tough to completely get on board with him because I think they are both 3tecs, and we really need a 5tec….But unless star is on the board if we trade back to say #11, or #12(two teams that really really NEED an OT), I would expect to see Sheldon Drafted by the Birds. Although he isnt my ideal 5tec, and he still needs alot of work, you cant pass up an athlete like him…in 2 or 3 years, he will be an absolute Force! I see a Fletcher Cox Jr., but needing a little more Time than Fletch will need before he really ARIVES!!
    If the 4th pick comes around and you hear that a team has traded up to aquire the 4th pick from the Eagles…The FIRST thing that will immediately come to my mind is, here comes SHELDON!!! The Only players I can maybe see them passing on Sheldon for at the #11-12 range are Star, and MAYBE Cooper or Warmack(If Warmack hadent played for Stoutland, as good as he is, I wouldnt mention him because Cooper will be a much better fit for us)….I dont think anyone can Complain about coming away from Round 1 with Sheldon Richardson AND AN EXTRA 2nd round pick!!!

    • southy

      I dunno how I feel about taking a guard top 5, but if we’re back at 12 I have no problem with it. Warmack is an animal. Still think you’d take a Lane Johnson if he fell.

      • GGeagle21

        I never suggested or would be ok with taking a guard in the top 5

        • southy

          I know you didn’t.

  • joethomas215

    Cox Richardson Curry, could be great

  • PaoliBulldog

    The question I have about Richardson is: how does Kelly evaluate a player’s football intelligence? Players who came out of college functionally illiterate (e.g., James Brooks, Dexter Manley) have still managed very good pro careers, but the fact that Richardson had to go the JuCo route is troublesome. I’d hate to evaluate Richardson’s mental readiness based off just an interview and the Wonderlic.

    • GGeagle21

      Every prospct we consider has the Physical attributes needed to be successful in the NFL. What decides whether a prospect reaches his ceiling or Busts rest soley on Charecter: Football Intelligence, Gym rate, Desire to be great, Perserverance, hard work ethic…..The tough part is figuring out which prospects genuinly have this type of Charecter, and which are just coached up by agents..we are fortunate enough to have a coaching staff that knows alot of these prospects much better than the average NFL GM…in 3 years, our coaches wont have this advantage anymore…so I wouldnt be mad if we had a dratf, that sticks to the guys who’s charecter we dont need to gamble on. LET ELIMINATE BUST POTENTIAL, and stick to the charecters we already know:
      1)Dion Jordan
      2)Kyle Long
      3)Barrett Jones
      4)Kiko Alonso
      5)Nick Kasa
      Our coaches know every single one of those prospects on a first hand, having coached them basis,..Kasa Chip played against, and the eagles have interviewed him muliple times since the offseason began

      • Richard Colton

        What happened to all the nicknames you made up for these guys? Come on! Kyle “Nasty as FOCK” Long? Nick “do you have a girlfriend?” Kasa?

        • GGeagle21

          Hahahahahahaha sorry, I’m slacking today!

  • JofreyRice

    Yeah, this is my favorite DT. Talk about versatile. Mizzou didn’t just talk it, they walked it.
    They had Richardson blitzing from the MLB position, standing up, in traditional 3 tech, 1 tech, and even dropping out in coverage. He doesn’t use his hands as well as Sharrif Floyd, and I don’t think he’s as strong at the POA at this point, but I think those things can come with time. I could give a #$@#! if he got a D in Physics, the guy understands football, and loves the game.

    He’s extremely explosive, has great balance, is a really fluid mover, and plays to win every single snap; I don’t think that should be underrated. Greg Cosell likened his movement ability to Melvin Ingram, a guy SD has playing outside linebacker at 30 pounds lighter. I’d co-sign that.

  • GGeagle21

    Dallas Cowboys are currently in contract talks with RT Eric WInston….Dallas has very little money, so they cant possibly offer Winston a very lucrative deal..So if he is about to sign with Dalls, why wouldnt we swoop in and just up the ante a tad…we have all the money we could need….With all the money we have, Im kind of pissed that we didnt sign Allan Branch 5tec, and an OT like Winston, to two year stop gap contracts, so that we could really do whatever we wanted in the draft…Neither wil have signed for much money(If winston becomes a cowboy), so its starting to piss me off that we didnt sign both, just until we could draft and develope a player at those positions…

    • cliff henny

      winston does seem to be a fit, but, he might want to be guarenteed starting positon, that’s why he’d take less money in Dallas. just never know with these free agents. makes me wonder maybe stoutland isnt lying when talking about kelly and watkins being a tamdom he can work with.

      • GGeagle21

        maybe…very well could be. Just read a report from someone connected refuting the claim that the cowboys are involved saying this news is motivatd by Drew Risenhiuse trying to drive up the price for the real team that wants him……so who knows what’s going on. I don’t write off Watkins or Kelly, so…whatever stoutland decides is cool wit me

  • southy

    5:30 is a better play than the sack. He pushes the G into the backfield and gets off the block to gobble up the RB.

  • cliff henny

    another one where they should have shown a different team, all i got away from the tape was…I WANT ‘BAMA’S O-LINE! between kelly’s play scheming and stoutland’s coaching, think shady and co are going to have mac truck holes to run thru

  • jdimagg55

    I watch a lot of college football and I’m a gators fan. IMO Richardson is the best DT in this draft. Better than Floyd and Star. He was more dominate than Cox was in college.