Is Paul Richardson Actually Any Good?
Paul Richardson’s Redskins career began in March
Coaches and players alike have raved about his speed
Russell Wilson often looked his way during crunch time
But it’s questionable as to what he really brings to the table
Paul Richardson runs away from former Redskins LB Will Compton. This proves nothing.
By Evan Redmon
July 20, 2018
Paul Richardson’s Redskins tenure has begun
The team signed Richardson to a 5-year, $40 million deal with around $20 million in guarantees in March of this year.
The idea was a simple one: the Redskins needed a Z receiver. You know, a speedster to stretch the field from the outside and dance like Deion into the end zone about 10 times a year.
This was DeSean Jackson‘s realm for three years, and when healthy, he opened up the Redskins’ offense in myriad ways. Washington sorely missed that threat in 2017.
However, even when D-Jax wasn’t ringing up cha-chings on the stat line, he struck fear into the hearts of safeties and defensive coordinators alike.
They had to account for him. Gameplan for him. Bracket him.
This attention resulted in wide open tracts of real estate in the middle of the field, where the likes of Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder set up profitable businesses. Whenever Kirk Cousins hit D-Jax for an early, long TD, the Redskins were pretty much unstoppable on offense for the rest of the game.
Clearly, the team wants to get that party started up again.
Enter Paul Richardson, Redskins New WR
Bruce Allen and Doug Williams didn’t have a wealth of options to replace DeSean Jackson.
They needed to shore up the run defense early in the draft, as the price tag for veteran run stuffers like Johnathan Hankins was deemed too high. As a result, there were no good options at WR as the draft wore on. The Redskins may not have viewed the wideouts left on their later-round board as comparatively adept for that field-stretching role.
Furthermore, this was no time to take a chance on an unproven commodity. The future is now, again. The team wanted someone who had proven NFL chops but wouldn’t break the bank.
Hello, Paul Richardson? Redskins on line one.
Paul Richardson Curriculum Vitae
NFL entry: 2nd round (45th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Games Played: 47
Avg games per season: 11.75
Total Catches: 95 (161 targets)
Total Yards: 1,302
Total TDs: 8
Yards per Game: 27.7
College: Colorado Buffaloes
Years at college: 3
Games played: 33
Total Catches: 156
Total Yards: 2,412
Total TDs: 21
Avg Yds/Catch: 15.5
Height: 6′ 0″
40 yard dash: 4.4
Broad jump: 10′ 4″
3-Cone drill: 7.09 sec.
Arm length: 35 5/8″
Hands: 8 7/8″
Hometown: Gardena, CA
High School: Junípero Serra High School, Mateo, CA
Birthday: April 13, 1992 in Los Angeles, CA
Marital Status: Single
Favorite Music Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Favorite Movie: Friday
Paul Richardson’s Time in Seattle: The Good…
Richardson really came into his own in 2017.
When Russell Wilson wasn’t scrambling for his life behind the leakiest of offensive lines, he often sought out Richardson in key moments. Sometimes it was a crucial 3rd down, sideline toe-tapper to move the chains. Other times it was late in a game with playoff implications.
And then there’s the playoffs themselves.
Against Detroit last year, Richardson made 3 highlight reel catches that prompted Chris Collinsworth to make an Odell Beckham comparison. There was much one-handed ridiculousness.
The aspect of his game that is perhaps the most promising for Redskins fans – and Alex Smith – is his end-of-half heroics. It seemed every time the Seahawks were in a two-minute drill, Wilson looked for Richardson to make a play.
The Case for Clutch
- In week 2 last season, the Seahawks were down by 3 against the 49ers with about 7 minutes left in the game. Richardson did a great job moving with Russell Wilson to the left side of the field in a typical Seattle scramble situation. Wilson hit PR at the very edge of the endzone on 3rd down for a 10-yard TD. That would prove to be the winning score.
- In week 3, Seattle trailed Tennessee 33-20 late in the 4th quarter. With 1:55 to go, Richardson ran a hard slant from the Z position and caught an 8-yard TD.
- In week 4 against the Colts, Richardson caught a crucial 37-yard frozen rope from Wilson with just 5 seconds to go in the half, setting up a 36-yard FG attempt. He took a hard shot right when he caught the ball but held on.
- In week 5, Wilson completed 3 consecutive passes to PR in the last 1:25 of the half against the LA Rams defense, setting up a FG as time expired.
- The Seahawks were up by 3 in the 4th quarter of a week 6 matchup at the New York Giants. On a flea flicker, Richardson got well behind the Giants defense, but the ball was late, and NY All-Pro safety Landon Collins got all up in Richardson’s grill at as the pass arrived. He wrestled the ball away from Collins for the TD that put the game away.
- The following game against the Texans, he caught 2TD passes and added a clutch, spectacular leaping grab, out-jumping the Texans safety Marcus Gilchrist for a hugely important 47-yard gain with 1:27 to go in the contest. That catch set up the winning score for Seattle.
- The Redskins came to artificial fan noise stadium the week afterwards and handed Seattle’s ass to them. This has nothing to do with Paul Richardson. I just enjoyed typing that sentence.
- The pattern continues in week 10 vs. the Cardinals. Richardson set up a last-second field goal at the end of the half by using his speed to beat the Arizona secondary for a big 37-yard completion.
- Hey, guess what? In week 11 vs. the Falcons, PR got the Seahawks in FG range with a 9-yard catch with 7 seconds to go in the half.
Sports Dorks Agree: Paul Richardson Redskins signing was a good one
I’ll stop right here, because you get the idea by now. But it goes on and on like this all season long, which is why Pro Football Focus rated him as one of the best clutch performers in the NFL.
When Russell Wilson needed somebody to step up and make a play during crunch time, Paul Richardson delivered time and time again.
This bodes well for his future in Washington.
Here’s a screenshot from Field Gulls, the SB Nation blog for the Seahawks. This was posted shortly after “Paul Richardson Redskins” became a Google search:
Is this just a sour grapes scenario from a bunch of fanboys, or is there something to it?
Actually, there’s something to it.
Turns out, many Seattle fans felt the same about Losing PR as Redskins fans did about losing Kendall Fuller in the Alex Smith trade. In other words, really not happy.
But looking at his production in his first three years, one has to wonder why. Furthermore, Tyler Lockett has led the Seahawks in every meaningful statistical category over the course of their respective careers. Richardson also accounted for about a quarter of all dropped passes by Seattle pass catchers in 2017.
Then there’s the one-hit wonder concern that pops into your head as a thought bubble, the moment you look at his stat sheet.
Prior to last season, his contract year, he had never eclipsed 30 catches or 300 yards. Suddenly, in a contract year, well lookie here. If you’re worried about PR going soft with all those Benjamins, you’re not alone.
True, injuries played a part in his lack of early production. Nevertheless, this is not exactly what you want from a 2nd round draft pick.
Speaking of injuries…
…And The Ugly
Injuries. Why’d it have to be injuries.
Seems like Paul Richardson gets the second year blues.
Back in 2012 when PR was at CO, he tore his ACL on April 9, requiring surgery. He missed all his second season and redshirted. However, he came back strong in 2013 and had a great season.
In 2015, his sophomore season with the Seahawks didn’t last very long. After one catch and one half of football, he was put on IR with a torn hamstring.
Furthermore, he’s one of those guys that always seems to be on the injury report for something. A tweaked knee here, a sore shoulder there, grade 1 ankle sprain thrown in for good measure.
A website called sportsinjurypredictor.com gives Richardson a 53.9% chance of being injured in 2018. I don’t know how they arrived at that number, but it sounds about right to me.
Then again, every player in the dagum NFL has a 53.9% chance of being injured. I’m amazed that people don’t die occasionally.
That one last thing
I wasn’t going to bring this up, because it’s not “ugly”, per se. It might not even be relevant.
Nevertheless, I decided that, since this post was already over 1,500 words, might as well go full-blown tl;dr.
You may remember, shortly after signing with the Skins, PR was pulled over by the Virginia State Police for having a temporary registration. Apparently, the cops asked him if he was in a gang, or if he was a drug dealer.
Most cops are fine people who take the whole “protect and serve” thing seriously. They see themselves as civil servants charged with keeping the peace for the decent folks in the world by pistol-whipping the occasional douchebag psychopath.
Conversely, there’s that one cop in the bunch who’s a total dick. Having had a few altercations with the VA PO-PO myself, I’m going to guess that Richardson was pulled over for DWB by one such lawman.
The thing that irks me a little is that he couldn’t wait to Tweet about it.
We’ve all had altercations with jerkass cops. It happens. He was sent on his merry way and no harm was done. But his reaction was unnecessary.
Truthfully, the East Coast is not like that most of the time. Be glad you weren’t signed by Tennessee, Paul.
This is not a big deal, not a sign of some type of diva-ism…probably. I just never like it when Redskins players make headlines for even the most minor off-the-field brouhahas.
Paul Richardson Redskins Conclusion
Jay Gruden raved about Richardson during the OTAs in June.
“Paul has done an excellent job. You could see his speed out there”
Okay, fine. Coaches are all hunky dorey in June. Everyone looks great.
What do you expect him to say? The guy we just signed to a $40 million deal looks sucky AF?
Of course not. However, Gruden is usually pretty honest. He called out Ryan Anderson last summer for coming to OTAs on the heavy side. If Richardson was stinking up the joint, he’d have at least hinted at it.
To answer the question posed in the title: yes, Paul Richardson is good.
No one is going to confuse him with DeSean Jackson, but he brings the threat of the deep ball on every play. He’s at his best at the biggest moments. And he’s just entering his prime.
Stay healthy, young man, and you’ll be our newest DC sports hero.