New England Patriots: Immediate Impact Rookies in 2015

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Oct 18, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; Stanford Cardinal safety Jordan Richards (8) against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Round 2, pick 64: Jordan Richards, S:

Tavon Wilson. Duron Harmon. Jordan Richards? Richards continues a recent baffling stretch of second and third round secondary players picked by Bill Belichick in his tenure in New England. In 2013 it was Rutgers safety Duron Harmon taken in third round at #91 overall. In 2012 it was second round draft pick Tavon Wilson out of Illinois at #48 overall. Now Richards is the safety taken much earlier than the analysts expected.

Richards was extremely smart player at Stanford displaying a high football intelligence and intangibles. He played a lot of free safety as a high safety by himself in centerfield. In New England that that role is filled by Devin McCourty and backed up by Harmon. 

However, when given the opportunity to play in the box he was solid when making a tackle. He is not the greatest athlete. He is cerebral and does a nice job of reading the eyes of the quarterback and moving laterally in coverage.  He has sticky hands and stood out making some nice interceptions. Richards is versatile, strong, and excelled in the short-space quickness drills such as the the three cone and short-shuttle drills.

A team captain at Stanford he was nicknamed “coach” by his teammates for his understanding and knowledge of the defense. His run support and short zone defense in the passing games could be a role in the NFL. Richards will be counted on to contribute on special teams immediately and take over a role on the dime defense immediately. By the end of the season he should be taking snaps away from starting strong safety Patrick Chung. Expect Richards to play about 250 to 450 snaps on defense as a rookie while being a “core-four” special teams player on the field for basically every special teams play.

Next: Round Three