The New York Jets decided to take Sheldon Richardson instead of Star Lotulelei, who was promptly scooped up by the Carolina Panthers, in the 2013 NFL Draft to fill their void at defensive tackle. The Jets have a strong group of young players in the front seven in Muhammad Wilkerson, who has been helping out Richardson, Quinton Coples, last year’s first-round pick who is in line for time as a 3-4 OLB, and now Richardson.
Expected to be a three technique in the NFL, Richardson actually lined up as a nose tackle on the first day of rookie minicamp with the Jets. It seems like the Jets view Richardson as a versatile defensive lineman, and it will be interesting to see how often the Jets move him around. I would think that Richardson would settle in as a 3-4 DE or 4-3 DT, but Jets head coach Rex Ryan believes that Richardson can play as a three, five, or one technique (nose).
Richardson told the Jets official site on where the Jets have been playing him. “Everywhere. A little end, a little three tech(nique), a little nose, shade, all that… The only thing I haven’t done yet is play rush, so I pretty much have my hand in the dirt.”
He also talked about adjusting the pros, and it sounds like the Jets have big plans for Richardson next season as a guy who can move around the formation and play in different fronts. The Jets will likely run both four and three-man fronts in 2013, so that’s something to watch for with Richardson. I think there will be some growing pains, but Richardson has a ton of upside and can be a quality run defender and high-impact pass rusher for the Jets. He’s ideally a three-technique, but it is interesting to see that the Jets and Ryan are confident in his ability to play all over the place.
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