- Learning all the intricacies of the different positions on the defensive line has Jets first-round pick Sheldon Richardson feeling like he's back at the University of Missouri."It's like college a little bit, but way more intense and a whole lot faster," Richardson said Wednesday. "I'm adjusting to it on the fly and I'm starting to get a little more fluid out there. The game's starting to slowly come into my own, but it will take a while. It's coming along good, though."
Promising defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson says his time at Missouri prepared him for the demands of OTAs.As the Jets prepare to wrap up organized team activities and begin their three-day minicamp starting June 11, Richardson's versatility has been put to the test as the team has used him in various positions. Richardson played defensive tackle in college and projects to be an inside pass-rusher for the Jets."It's always a challenge at first," said Richardson, the 13th overall pick in this year's draft. "It's repetition to get it right, for me anyway. That's how I learn -- through our repetition."In their base package, the Jets run a 3-4, which would project to have Kenrick Ellis as the nose tackle, and Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson serving as the ends.
Since the Jets use multiple fronts and will switch to 4-3 packages, Richardson has to be able to move around. In a 4-3, the team would likely make him one of two interior pass-rushers alongside Wilkerson.Richardson said he's catching up on the various calls and checks the team uses for the different spots on the defensive line, and has noticed they come faster than what he has experienced. He added there's a lot more to remember, but embraces the challenge.
The first-rounder primarily played in a 4-3 with Missouri, but he also saw time in a 3-4, including at nose tackle. He credits the Tigers with helping him transition to the NFL."My preparation to the NFL was pretty legit at Mizzou. They prepared us well, even though the season didn't go where we wanted, but they got us right," Richardson said. "I came here, I was in shape, I followed my training and stuck to my work ethic and pretty much everything I learned at Mizzou: Start fast and finish strong. And that's how I plan on doing throughout my career."
In his short time with the Jets, Richardson has already made an impression on head coach Rex Ryan with the zeal he has displayed during the voluntary practices."It's not hard to recognize a guy that plays with that kind of energy, that kind of enthusiasm," Ryan said. "We talk about it here, playing like a Jet. Nobody likes that term, but it's a huge term to us. And sometimes when you go out, you send scouts out, you talk about that we shouldn't have to teach desire and effort and all of that type of stuff. Certainly this is a guy you don't have to worry about."
He added: "It's not surprising that we're seeing what we're seeing. He just jumps in there. You put him all over the place and he's just hitting and he's going 100 mph."