Instant Analysis from Scout's Jamie Newberg:
The Patriots picked up a versatile defensive back with the final pick in the second round in Stanford safety Jordan Richards. This is a player that’s smart, instinctive and physical. He has a good burst and closes to the ball well, whether in coverage or attacking the run. Richards can play free or strong and in the slot. He racked up close to 250-tackles over his career.
Report from NFL Scouting Services' Dave-Te' Thomas:
Versatile and quick enough to play either safety position or be utilized as a slot corner-back, Jordan Richards repeated his 68-tackle, three-interception 2012 performance again in 2013, earning league honorable mention both times. He elevated his postseason status to league first-team accolades in 2014, as he ranked third on the team with 79 tackles, adding three interceptions with five pass break-ups, as he also caused three fumbles in 2014.
Richards has an athletic build with adequate height. He is fluid and smooth dropping back in pass coverage and shows impressive short area burst and make-up acceleration. He can turn and run vertically with just about any receiver he faces and is extremely quick in his backpedal. He has an explosive closing burst and can make up a lot of ground when the ball is in the air, demonstrating very quick feet and good lateral movement skills.
He plants and drives on the ball coming forward with no wasted motion and his ability to stop and start on a dime is impressive. He has good leaping ability and will challenge for the jump ball. The Cardinal displays natural instincts finding the football quickly and putting himself into position to make the play.
An aggressive and physical safety that is not afraid to lay his body on the line, he reads quarterback's eyes well and is able to get a good jump on the ball in flight. He closes quickly when receivers catch the ball in front of him and shows good closing speed coming off the edge.
The safety has the body control to avoid blockers in the backfield when asked to blitz. He has adequate fluidity in his hips, as he is able to turn and run with some bigger slot receivers in man coverage. He takes sound angles to the ball and is aggressive, possessing decent hands for the interception, along with the leaping ability and timing that will allow him to knock down some passes he can not intercept.
In run support, he attacks downhill immediately after recognizing the play as it develops. He will look for knock-out blow when given the opportunity and is effective when lined up in the box, doing a solid job of breaking down when making open field tackles. Even with his average timed speed (4.65 in the 40-yard dash), his ball skills appear to be good.
For just about every play he makes in coverage, Richards is also effective coming forward and attacking ball carriers, as he can be very aggressive in run support. That is a bit surprising, considering that he showed at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine that he definitely needs to upgrade his marginal weight room strength.
Even though Richards has recorded 247 tackles, he tends to hit more than tackle, and will drop his head too often in the open field. For some reason, he will revert to staying high in his backpedal and this results in his footwork getting choppy. He must work on his man coverage technique and improve his reaction, as he is slow to recover when receivers chew up his cushion.
While he does play with good discipline, Richards can be sucked in by play-action and at times fails to get deep, especially when opponents freeze him in the open field. He showed better range as a junior, but last season, he did not have great lateral movement, and he seemed to perform better by acting as a hammer when the play is in front of him.
Jordan Richards Scouting Combine measurables
5-11/211 (4.65 forty)
32 1/2-inch arm length
9 3/8-inch hands
32-inch vertical jump
111-inch broad jump
6.74 3 cone drill
4.22 20 yard shuttle
11.38 60 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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