Nick Richmond was a part-time starter during his final three seasons at TCU, serving as the top backup at both tackle positions. His performance in spot-duty was enough to capture the attention of NFL scouts, but not enough to get drafted.
Once Richmond hit the free-agent pool, he quickly signed with the Bolts. San Diego was one of at least four teams that had worked him out prior to the draft.
"When Nick called the day he signed with San Diego, he was very excited," Williamson said. "He felt like he had an opportunity there, which is important. Hopefully, it works out for both Nick and the Chargers."
OT Nick Richmond
That hurts San Diego in the short-term, as Tra Thomas (knee) and Brandyn Dombrowski (groin) are also injured. However, it will not affect the team's plans for this year; Richmond was always destined for the practice squad.
"Some of the NFL programs I talked to said he may be a person they bring in and carry for a year or so, even on the practice squad, to see where he grows and develops," Williamson said.
Richmond is an ideal practice-squad candidate because he has so much raw talent.
"He can run really well for a big, tall man," Williamson said. "He has extremely good power in his hips. He has good reach. He played both right and left tackle. He was our swing guy and a very valuable person in our football program."
The TCU coaching staff always had high hopes for Richmond.
"Nick played a couple of years of football in high school," recalled Williamson. "He was actually a defensive end. His coach found him on a tennis court over there. He was such a good athlete -- moving laterally and changing directions -- that his coach encouraged him to come out for football.
"We recruited him and moved him to offensive tackle. He actually grew a little bit while he was here. He's pretty tall (6-foot-8) and he played tackle for us for four years. Actually, we red-shirted him during his freshman season, but he was on the field in some capacity all four years he was here."
Richmond never entrenched himself in the starting lineup or realized his full potential. However, his ongoing improvement was enough to catch the attention of scouts.
Once he got the chance to work out for NFL teams, he passed the eye-ball test.
"Talking to people from the NFL, his impressive wingspan was the crucial issue," Williamson said. "Nick runs well for a big man. He has decent speed and the fact that he played on both sides of the line was a point of interest [for NFL teams]."
A handful of teams showed interest in Richmond after the draft. He chose the Chargers because he saw an opening at offensive tackle and took note of the team's history of developing undrafted free agents.
Williamson, for one, thinks the Chargers found a gem.
"Nick is fairly demanding in terms of work ethic," Williamson said. "A lot of NFL teams respect that. He's a solid person. He was never in any trouble here. He completed his degree and was working on his Masters during his last year, so I think that shows some direction and purpose in life."
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