Opening day countdowns are great. So are player profiles. Here at Musket Fire, we decided to combine them and create a Week 1 countdown-oriented, jersey number-dictated player profile series. Yesterday we looked at No. 38 Brandon Bolden, and the day before that it was No. 39 Travaris Cadet. Because today marks 37 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling No. 37, rookie safety Jordan Richards.
Selected at the very back of the second round this spring by the Patriots, Richards is a Stanford man. In his senior season, Richards earned First-Team All-PAC-12 honors and the National Football Foundation Scholarship Award while captaining Stanford.
The more you learn about Richards, the more you’ll realize that he is an extremely smart player. This is what Devin McCourty had to say about the player who might be his partner at safety in Week 1:
"I think the thing that sticks out the most about him is I think he’s a very smart guy. I think he’s a guy that’s hungry. He came in Day 1 knowing as much as possible for a rookie. The thing is, we stay on him to keep playing through mistakes. He’s so smart and understands so much that he hasn’t made very many mistakes. But he’s still a rookie, and we just tell him to keep playing. He’s doing great so far."
In Richards, the Patriots are receiving not just a pro ready prospect, but also a Patriots-ready one. As the Boston Herald’s Adam Kurkjian points out, Richards has exemplified the Patriot Way throughout his football upbringing.
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Known as a coach on the field because of his high football IQ and leadership ability, Richards is the prototypical Belichick defender. In addition, he knows how to take the high road when it comes to speaking with the media, a Patriot trait if there ever was one.
Versatility is one of Richards’ strong suits, as he’s played corner, safety, and some linebacker. Certainly, that appealed to the Patriots and will serve the rookie well as he tries to establish a role on the team.
Despite his short stature at 5-foot-11, Richards hands out big hits. The Patriots honestly need an enforcing physical presence in the secondary, and Richards ought to fill that void.
In case you missed them, here are the profiles for No. 41 Dekoda Watson, No. 42 Xzavier Dickson, No. 43 Nate Ebner, No. 44 Matthew Wells, No. 45 D.J. Lynch, No. 46 james Develin, No. 47 Michael Hoomanawanui, No. 48 Geneo Grissom, No. 49 Joe Cardona, No. 50 Rob Ninkovich, No. 51 Jerod Mayo, No. 52 Dane Fletcher, No. 53 Eric Martin, No. 54 Dont’a Hightower and No. 55 Jonathan Freeny.
Be sure to check back on Musket Fire tomorrow morning as we celebrate 36 days until Week 1 by profiling the multiple owners of the No. 36 jersey, running back Tyler Gaffney and undrafted rookie safety Brandon King.