The Seahawks signed Paul Richardson, their top draft pick, to his rookie contract on Tuesday but all that guarantees is that he will be on the roster in 2014.
Richardson tweeted his excitement, and rightfully so…
FINALLY SIGNED. ITS OFFICIAL!
— Paul Richardson (@PRichJr) May 20, 2014
…but now the question for Richardson is, does he have what it takes to work his way onto the top of the Seahawks depth chart?
The short answer is, we have to wait and see. However, reality tells us that for as talented as Richardson is, the Seahawks are pretty stacked at the receiver position for the time being.
Jermaine Kearse would probably be the reasonable No. 4 guy which would make Richardson the most likely No. 5. That is, assuming he isn’t outplayed by either Kevin Norwood, Ricardo Lockette or Chris Matthews in training camp.
But that’s not to say Richardson won’t play many downs next season. In fact, he may be able to use his ridiculous speed to play specialty downs when the Seahawks need a big play.
Richardson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds at the NFL Combine but was reportedly disappointed because he ran a 4.28 during his training.
Either way, that’s blazing fast. The best time ever recorded at the Combine was a 4.24 courtesy of former-Titan and current Jets RB Chris Johnson.
To put that into further perspective, Harvin ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at his Combine. DeSean Jackson ran a 4.35. And Richardson ran faster than both of them.
But then again, there is more to being a successful receiver than speed.
Great hands, crisp route running, quick agility and a strong body among other things are also essential. Richardson has the first three, but he could work on adding a few pounds before the season starts to be even more competitive. He is officially listed at 6-foot, 183 pounds making him the lightest receiver on the roster (though just barely, since Harvin weighs 185 pounds).
Richardson’s best chance to start will be if one of the top three players get injured.
Hopefully, of course, that doesn’t happen, but that doesn’t mean it won’t.
As of right now, Richardson will probably not start next season. But it is only his rookie season, so expect him to be in the mix the next few seasons. And expect him to be a go-to receiver whenever Pete Carroll needs him.