A pre-draft favorite to fall to the Carolina Panthers, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson put forth an excellent workout in Missouri at the Tigers' pro day.
Arguably the hardest position to scout in this upcoming draft is defensive tackle. The first tier is now established, with Star Lotulelei, Sharrif Floyd, and Sheldon Richardson forming a trio that will undoubtedly be the first three DTs off the board, but it remains to be seen in what order. Some still believe Lotulelei is the guy, sticking by him since early January mocks pegging him as a top-three pick, meanwhile others think Floyd's upside and versatility will separate him from the pack -- and he will be a top-five selection. Then there's Sheldon Richardson, arguably the most polarizing prospect of the three. While Sharrif and Star represent upside vs. readiness, Richardson is a mix of the two. A quick, penetrating defensive tackle, he's disruptive on film, and shows unmatched speed at the position among this draft class. Despite this, you'll find his draft position ranges anywhere from the first overall selection, to the mid-twenties.
On Friday in Missouri, Richardson flashed that speed as he improved his 40-time to a blistering 4.81 seconds. Astonishingly quick for a near-300 lb defensive tackle, he also looked crisp in position drills, and now we're getting a better sense of which teams are interested, as Matthew Fairburn reports:
Five of the six teams are selecting before the Panthers, and it's interesting to see they're not mentioned in this list. It's still early, but speaks to how buttoned-up the organization continue to be with their pre-draft process. Outside of attending some pro days, there's no report of private visits for the Panthers.
If there's one thing that could be a turn-off for Carolina, it's Richardson's bravado. It's reported he had a few off-field issues last year; ignoring team punishment for skipping classes, and insulting Georgia football, calling it 'old man football'. As for his demeanor now, he's still showing flashes of that bravado -- speaking in the third-person:
"The whole NFL wants Sheldon Richardson,"
He's not wrong.
Wide receiver T.J. Moe is an intriguing prospect, and one worth keeping your eye on. While he ran an unimpressive 40 at the combine, he led all receivers in the agility drills. Moe isn't a deep-threat, but he might be an incredibly effective twitch slot receiver, and less of an investment that West Virginia's Tavon Austin, someone who caught Jaxon's eye. Moe will likely be available in the 5th or 6th round, and has specialist potential -- something Ron Rivera likes.