Steelers Rookie Profile: Shaquille Richardson

gbs121512vThe Steelers 5th round pick, cornerback Shaquille Richardson likely has defensive backs coach Carnell Lake to thank for getting him in the black and gold.

Lake was coaching at UCLA, and recruited Richardson there when he was coming out of high school. Richardson would eventually transfer after being released from the UCLA football program on after being arrested on suspicion of felony theft.

Richardson pretty much fits the bill of a lot of Steelers corner draft picks. He’s got good size and length at 6’0″ 194 pounds. He has good speed as well, and is a good all around athlete.

He also does a good job in run support. He’s not going to lay anyone out but does a good job of keeping containment on the outside.

Arizona’s scheme has Richardson playing a ton of zone, and he did it well, but it’s hard to say whether he can play in other types of coverage schemes.

I saw some instance of Richardson playing off-man, and he seemed too careful when doing so. He would often give his man too much space for easy underneath completions.

In short, he’s a raw prospect with some nice tools. It will be up to Richardson and Carnell Lake to see if they can be honed to create a quality corner for the Steelers.

At a glance it would appear Richardson has a solid shot at making the final 53, due to the lack of experience behind Ike, Allen, and Gay.

However, I’ve heard the Steelers like last year’s waiver wire addition Antwon Blake more than most people think. Blake previously has been a special teams standout, but could start making an impact on the defense.

Isiah Green also had a solid training camp in 2013. Former Texan Brice McCain was also brought in and has some game-time experience.

I think that the camp battle for the last couple CB spots will be more competitive than most realize.

Richardson will need to show first that he can contribute on special teams (where 3rd round bust Curtis Brown was a very solid player), and show some flashes that he may make an impact on the defense down the road.

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