2015 NFL Draft: Evaluating Roster Chances of Every New England Patriots’ Pick

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Round 2, 64th Overall: SS Jordan Richards

Roster chances: 9.25/10

A hard-hitting strong safety despite his small size at 5-foot-11, Richards was the most head scratching pick the Patriots made in the 2015 NFL Draft. Even though it was a reach to draft him at No. 64 when he almost certainly would have been available in the third, fourth, and possibly even fifth round, Richards’ roster chances are very good.

Pat Chung may have saved his career with an outstanding 2014 season, but it’s not guaranteed that the former Philadelphia Eagle will be able to keep up the good work. And it’s not like the Patriots are about to put special teamer Nate Ebner in the starting strong safety role.

Yes, Richards’ coverage ability leaves something to be desired. But if he is even an ounce better in coverage than Chung, Richards will factor into the rotation. Playing next to Devin McCourty allows whoever is playing strong safety to prioritize run defense.

Stopping the run is Richards’ specialty, and it will make him stand out in training camp. Don’t be surprised if he’s getting significant playing time in Week 1.

Next: Geneo Grissom