Cardinals Scout Massive Tackle at Senior Bowl

In 2007, no unit overachieved more in than the Cardinals offensive line. The unheralded group of youngsters and journeymen allowed only one sack per 24.6 pass attempts and cleared the way for a 1,200-yard rusher. Looking to build on that productivity, the Cards paid close attention to a mammoth tackle prospect during the Senior Bowl.

OT Barry Richardson (6'7", 337 pounds) is one of the premier two-way tackles in the draft. His agility and wingspan make him a terrific pass protector, and his imposing size makes him a force in the running game. He delivered 141 knockdown blocks during his four-year career at Clemson.

Richardson was elevated to the starting left tackle role in the fourth week of his freshman season, becoming the first true freshman to start more than one game on Clemson's offensive line since 1975.

He took his game to another level as a sophomore. No game exemplified that more Clemson's showdown with North Carolina State, when Richardson held Mario Williams to two tackles and no sacks. Williams would be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft one season later.

Richardson only improved from there, earning first team All-ACC honors as a junior and senior. It was his consistently stellar performance that earned him an invite to the Senior Bowl.

For Richardson, the biggest benefit of Senior Bowl week was getting to work with the coaching staff of the San Francisco 49ers.

"I think it helps you get adjusted to the playbooks and schemes," he said. "It's a fast tempo in practice, so that when you come into camp you're not the last person running. You know what's going on and where you gotta be. It's like a head start of what to expect next season."

The Cardinals could certainly use a player of Richardson's ability. He has the size and nasty demeanor that offensive line coach Russ Grimm is looking for.

Richardson would have to battle Mike Gandy and Oliver Ross for playing time next season. However, the massive rookie is confident he could make the Cardinals a better team.

"I'm not really a loud or outspoken person, but once I get on the field, I know how to turn it loose and get after it," he said. "I want to win, that's the most important thing to me. Some people say that winning isn't everything, but to me that's all there is. You're either winning or losing."

If the Cardinals can steal Richardson in round three, they will all but assure themselves of boasting the best offensive line in the NFC West next season.



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