Many people in the NFL community have had mixed words about offensive lineman Antonio Richardson. Some experts have mocked him as high as the 28th pick in the draft while others have project the Tennessee product to be a late second round pick, meaning that despite the fact that Richardson was not invited to the "green room," his name could still be called on day one of the draft.
While where Richardson will fall on draft day is still uncertain, if one thing is for sure, this guy is an athletic freak of nature for such a big man. He is quick and light on his feet even when he misreads a play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp6gLTPRNKc
Despite his flashes of brilliance with footwork, power, and skill at both run and pass blocking, he still struggles with many aspects of his game. On tape, I catch him leaving to much space in between himself and the defender, allowing the defender to get a good bull rush on him. Defensive lineman frequently pick up too much speed and power on Richardson, knocking him off balance when he stands up too straight and has bad knee bend. He also fails to block down field at times, which is odd to me given his athletic ability.
Richardson also tends to make mental errors once he leaves the line of scrimmage along with his inconsistent footwork, knee, and hip placement, but are all things that can be coached out with his natural blocking ability. As for Richardson allowing too much space between him and the defender, it could be attributed to a lack of self confidence in his own abilities, though it's pure speculation.
Despite these issues, Richardson is a talented risk of a draft pick. He has the potential to be a great starter in the NFL, but could also struggle if he fails to fix his mental lapses at the next level. I personally see him as a starting right tackle in the NFL with the potential to switch to left blind-side, similarly to Titans' offensive tackle Michael Oher.
If taken by the Panthers in the first round, it would be a solid selection, but with a good bit of risk. I have trust that Carolina has done their homework on Richardson and will make the correct call on the offensive lineman in the draft. Overall, despite his issues, good coaching can turn Richardson into a very solid tackle in the NFL.
~ Tyler Callaway