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Thursday, May 9, 2013
Draft close-up: DT Sheldon Richardson

By Rich Cimini

Sheldon Richardson
Barring injury, Sheldon Richardson should be the opening-day starter at Mike DeVito's old position.
The rookie minicamp begins Friday, so we're catching you up with the Jets' draft picks:

Player: Sheldon Richardson, first round

School: Missouri

Position: Defensive tackle

Projected impact: Barring an upset, Richardson should be the opening-day starter in Mike DeVito's old position, defensive tackle in the 3-4 front. He'll bring more athleticism to the position than DeVito, but Richardson must adapt to a two-gap scheme. That can be frustrating for a young lineman who played in a one-gap, 4-3 scheme in college. Richardson's role became clear when it was revealed that Quinton Coples was moving to outside linebacker.

SOUND BITES

On if he's surprised he went to a 3-4 team: "No, I knew I was kind of versatile coming into the draft, and I knew all of the teams liked my ability. I mean, they can find a way to put me on the field and be productive so, no, I wasn’t surprised a 3-4 team selected me at all. I was just surprised the Jets got me because after the combine that was kind of the last time I talked to them."

On how he was used in his 14-tackle performance against Alabama: "Straight forward, I penetrated gaps, one-gap defense at the time and I pretty much pursued the ball really. I was running all over the field. They were gashing us pretty good the whole game, and I mean, it was a great experience for me to go against those guys, but it wasn’t just Alabama. I got week-in, week-out film, and they’ve seen the consistent play and how I got after the ball-carrier."

On playing in Rex Ryan’s system: "For me, it’s going to be a great experience. I watched 'Hard Knocks' two years ago, and I was liking the intensity he brought to the team every practice. That’s just what he wants, his team to get the same output, as much input as he put into it. He’s a great coach. I know he wants his defense to come with it. He tells me they finished eighth overall last year and he said he wasn’t happy with that, and you have to respect a man like that."

On his athleticism for his size: "That has to go back to my upbringing. I played multiple sports. I never really just [played] only football. I [played] basketball, baseball and my father kept me year-round and most definitely said, 'If I don’t have you doing something constructive, you’re going to eat me out of house and home.' I pretty much just had to stay busy."