Appropriately nicknamed “Tiny,” the 6’6″ 330lbs. Antonio Richardson is a load to get around on the offensive line for the Tennessee Volunteers. As one of the top offensive tackles available in the 2014 draft, Richardson showed flashes of brilliance blocking against some of the better defensive talent in all of college football. Richardson started 24 consecutive games for the Vols between his Sophomore and Junior seasons and was a staple along an offensive line that did their best to block for an abysmal offense.
Richardson’s brightest moments were against possibly the top pick in the draft, South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney. For two games against the stud DE, Richardson made Clowney look pedestrian at best. Only allowing Clowney to register four tackles in the first meeting. Albeit that one of those four tackles was a strip, fumble, sack. Richardson has the ability to be a road grader and a dominant wall as a pass blocker. Richardson has the prototypical size to be a premier offensive tackle in the NFL. The Saints would more than likely use him at right tackle if they decide not to re-sign veteran team captain Zach Strief.
Richardson is a 2x All-SEC Second Team selection and a Nashville native. For a guy his size he’s very athletic, long, competitive, has a great mean streak, and his pass blocking footwork is amongst the best in college football. He has the ability to disrupt the timing of outside pass rushers and the strength to snuff out stunts and inside rushers if necessary. Richardson has tremendous upside and could end up as a 15-year pro with numerous Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections. Many scouts compare him to former Dallas Cowboys’ offensive tackle Erik Williams and Hall of Fame candidate Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Walter Jones.
Richardson does have his cons though. He’s 6’6″, so his knee bend isn’t stellar he tends to bend at his waist on pass blocking and doesn’t always lock onto his target on run blocking. He needs to improve on his quickness as he will discover that teams will tend to pick on him with their best pass rushers early and often.
He has the potential to be another Willie Roaf type player for the Saints. Combined with an emerging Terron Armstead on the left side, and learning the ropes from veteran stalwarts in Ben Grubbs and Jhari Evans, Richardson could very well become one of the better right tackles in the NFL quickly.