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Friday, April 26, 2013
Richardson beefs up D-line

By Matt Ehalt

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets believe they selected a top four player in the draft with their 13th pick, Sheldon Richardson.

The defensive tackle agrees.

Richardson
The Jets think they've gotten a top-4 player in former Missouri defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson.
"I really do," Richardson said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. "Any guy should have confidence in himself and his talent and his ability. I really do think I was one of the top guys in the draft and I just happened to come to the Jets."

The Jets used their second first-round selection to bolster their defensive line with Richardson -- 6-2, 294 -- out of Missouri. Richardson was the first defensive tackle to come off the board, beating out Florida's Sharrif Floyd and Utah's Star Lotulelei for that honor.

"It's the athletic ability," Jets Director of College Scouting Jeff Bauer said. "His ability to change directions is uncanny. We were talking, we don't know if we've seen a defensive tackle this athletic, I can't even think of one. They had him play linebacker one game against (Texas) A&M, stand up. You'll see a special athlete, athletic ability, his balance, it's special."

The Jets were thrilled to land Richardson, as they had him, along with their first pick, cornerback Dee Milliner, listed as two of the top four players on their board. Richardson played two seasons for Missouri, after one year with the College of the Sequoias, and had 10.5 tackles for loss and four sacks for the Tigers this past season. He also had 75 tackles.

"I think he can compete right away," Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. "He's been almost an All-American wherever he's been. Out of high school, junior college, certainly this year he played like one, I don't know if he was voted one, but he played [like] one."

Richardson played in a 4-3 defense at Missouri but will now have to adjust to the Jets' 3-4 defense. The Jets do use multiple fronts, though, and even Ryan said the Jets could use more 4-3 alignments going forward. Richardson would project to play in the interior of the Jets defense, and he did play in a 3-4 with Missouri at times, lining up in the nose tackle.

"I think I'm very versatile and helping out the defense and contributing and stopping offense is what I do," Richardson said. "That's really the only think I can say about that one. And whatever position they want to me play I'll come in and learn it as best as possible and to the best of my abilities and give it 100 percent."

One of the red flags surrounding Richardson involved his one-game suspension this past season for violating team rules. An AFC personnel director told ESPNNewYork.com there are character concerns and "maturity, leadership and consistency issues" with Richardson.

Richardson is excited to start with the Jets.

"I want to come in and make a name for myself and work hard and bring wins to the team," Richardson said.