At 6'6" and 319lbs, Richardson is a dominant presence at any position on the O-line. But so far, his actual role here in K.C. has yet to be defined by Charlie Weis and the rest of the coaching staff.
Big Rich was dubbed a "project" player after arriving in Kansas City as a sixth-round pick in the 2008 draft. Heading into his third professional season, it's time for the big man out of Clemson to forge a spot on a team that is in desperate need of a young lineman to step up.
Despite his one and only showcase as a starter coming in last season's embarrassing loss to the struggling Cleveland Browns, Richardson proved his value as a backup. In one of the Chiefs' best offensive performances of the season, Richardson anchored the left side of an O-line that, to that point, had struggled to find any sense of uniformity.
Jamaal Charles' 154 rushing yards combined with Matt Cassel's 331 yards and 2 touchdowns helped relieve the Chiefs of complete offensive paralyzation after Branden Albert went down with a late-season injury.
This should keep his job safe, but if Richardson wants to make an impact with the Chiefs, it is going to have to come on the right side of the line. The right tackle position of 2009 was a carousel of different players. Richardson, Ikechuku Ndukwe, and Ryan O'Callaghan all had opportunities to solidify themselves as starters, but none impressed the coaches enough to even be penciled in as a starter heading into training camp.
The starting position is wide open and Richardson again will be right in the thick of the starting right tackle discussions. In his two years since arriving in Kansas City, Richardson has drawn the eyes of both Chiefs fans and Chiefs coaches. Although pleased with his serviceability as a backup, the Chiefs again have been giving B-Rich a look as a possible starting right tackle during last months OTAs.
Richardson is a very intelligent player, but if the coaching staff is risking muddying up his brain by trying to continue teaching him two different positions, they must like what they have seen of his progress. With an offensive line that can handle very little injury, Richardson's versatility makes him valuable to the Chiefs. But with the amount of physical ability he has, it would be a shame not to see him on the field in 2010.
24 Days to St. Joe: Barry Richardson
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