Positional battles will be rocking to the max when the New Orleans Saints finally take the field for organized team activities and training camp, especially on the defensive side of the ball. One name to get familiar with is Bobby Richardson.
A product of the Indiana Hoosiers, Richardson should be involved in a heated battle along the defensive line. A strong showing could result in a roster spot for the man who may turn out to be undrafted rookie gold. It was a bit surprising to see him go untouched during the selection process after he was projected to go in the middle rounds, but I’m sure Sean Payton and company have no problem with that.
A disruptive defensive presence in the Big 10, a team captain and true leader, Bobby Richardson plays with a merciless motor, always determined and never giving up. He survives off his long arms as well as his athleticism, which is highlighted by his nimble feet, comparable to an athletic offensive tackle.
Listed as a defensive tackle, Richardson has experience both there and at defensive end, a position he may be more suited for in the NFL. He lacks the mass of a starting tackle, but his big hands, quick feet and long arms make him a potential disturbance as a pass rusher.
A must for Bobby Richardson is improving his tackling ability — the New Orleans Saints were haunted by that mess a season ago and certainly do not need another liability there. Advancing in that field along with a boost in weight, strength, leverage and change of direction could be achieved under a solid coaching staff.
"Richardson’s tape is full of plays and near plays thanks to his outstanding pursuit and his ability to shed and find the ball quickly. While he lacks the desired height to play defensive end in an odd front, his length and outstanding work with his hands give him a shot at that spot. He has enough strength and room for more bulk to project inside in an upfield 4-3 defense. Richardson’s athleticism and hand usage make him an ascending prospect with starter potential."
"Richardson started 27 times and appeared in 45 games during his career. He made 129 tackles, 68 solo, with 11 sacks (74 yards), 22 tackles for loss (99 yards), three blocked kicks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, six pass breakups and two quarterback hurries.2014 Honors: Elected team captain along with Tevin Coleman, Collin Rahrig and Shane Wynn … honorable mention All-Big Ten (coaches and media) … received Indiana’s Chris Dal Sasso Award (Outstanding Lineman).2014 (Senior): Played in all 12 games and started 11 times … led all IU defensive linemen with 35 tackles, 24 solo, 5.5 sacks (39 yards) and 9.5 tackles for loss (48 yards)."
Bobby Richardson NFL Scouting Combine measurables:
Weight: 283 LBS
Arm length: 34 5/8 inches
Hands: 11 inches
40-yard dash: 5.16 secs
Vertical jump: 32.5 inches
Broad jump: 106 inches
3-cone drill: 7.57 secs
20-yard shuttle: 4.41 secs
Pro day results:
40-yard dash: 4.99 and 5.01 secs
Vertical jump: 31 1/2 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 2 inches
Bench press (225 LBS): 21 reps
Bobby Richardson has his work cut for him. With no true certainty at the defensive tackle position, he’ll need to bring his A-game, because a strong performance will likely land him a roster spot. The Saints’ current starter Brodrick Bunkley has been nothing but a disappointment since taking his talents to the Big Easy via free agency in 2012.
John Jenkins has shown flashes, but he remains inconsistent. Lawrence Virgil is inexperienced with just one game under his belt, and will likely be Richardson’s biggest competition alongside rookies Tyeler Davison and Kaleb Eulls.
Of course, with just three listed defensive ends on the official roster, Bobby Richardson could have a spot there too. Who knows? Maybe that position flexibility along the line could help make up for the loss of Tyrunn Walker. The competition this summer should be very entertaining.
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