Bills Sophomore Spotlight: Cyril Richardson

Cyril Richardson was called into action early in the 2014 season but lost his job after four starts. In 2015, Richardson is playing for a reserve role with the Bills.

The Buffalo Bills went back to addressing the offensive line in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft. At pick 153, Buffalo selected Cyril Richardson of Baylor.

Before the Bills

In 2009, Richardson was redshirted as a freshman. Over the next four seasons, Richardson started 42 games on the high-powered Baylor Bears offense. In his career with Baylor, Richardson was named First-Team All-Big 12 in 2012 and 2013 and a unanimous All-American in 2013. In his final season, Richardson’s weight issues caused him to fall down draft boards.

What the Analysts Said

“Richardson plays a very physical brand of football in a Baylor offense that is often identified as a ‘finesse’ system. He weighs more than 340 pounds and uses that size and power to maul defenders in the run game. He has unbelievably strong hands to torque and turn defenders at the point of attack. He also does a nice job of running his feet after his initial contact, which allows him to create a lot of movement at the line of scrimmage. He has a very firm, powerful base in pass protection.”

-Daniel Jeremiah,

"He has worked hard to lose that weight and that hard work paid off at Baylor's pro day, when he looked very good; he looked like the Richardson we remembered from a year ago when he was one of the most highly regarded offensive line prospects in the nation. He had gotten too heavy in 2013 and did not move well enough to be considered a top line prospect."

-Gil Brandt,

“Richardson has talent. He is just too heavy. If he can get his weight down to about 320, he has a chance to be a starter in the NFL. He flashes being able to do all the things required to be a winning guard in the league, but to be a consistent player and play to that level, he needs to have more mental discipline and control his weight.”

-Greg Gabriel, National Football Post

2014 Season

Richardson began the season as a backup guard with the team behind Chris Williams at left guard. After Williams went down with an injury in Week 3, Richardson started the next four games. In his first two starts, Richardson struggled against the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions. He allowed five quarterback hits and two quarterback hurries during the two games and was called for four penalties according to Pro Football Focus. Against Detroit, PFF gave Richardson a grade of -10.2. His play improved over the next two weeks but he eventually lost his starting job after Week 7. He only saw 33 snaps after losing his spot at left guard. In all, Richardson played 321 snaps as a rookie with the Bills and finished as PFF’s 60th rated guard (-13.7 grade).

2015 Outlook

Buffalo appears to have their starting guards set for 2015 with Richie Incognito and rookie John Miller. Richardson is most likely going to compete in training camp to be one of the team’s top reserves at guard. Currently, Richardson’s main competition will be Chris Williams and Kraig Urbik. Williams is a possible cut candidate after struggling in his three starts with the Bills last season. Urbik’s roster spot is safe as he is Buffalo’s backup center, but Richardson can beat Urbik out at the guard position.

The Bills plan on using a power blocking scheme in 2015, which suits Richardson’s skill set. If Richardson plays well in training camp and the preseason, he could set himself up as Buffalo’s No. 3 guard. One injury at the position could lead to Richardson playing quite a few meaningful snaps this season.


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