With a strong showing at the 2013 NFL Combine, Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson has caused many to shake up their mock drafts and shuffle him towards the upper half of the first round. In fact, in the latest mock draft from Matthew Fairburn on SB Nation, Richardson jumped all the way up to take over the top spot in the projection and was slated to go to the Kansas City Chiefs.
On Monday, Richardson joined NFL.com's Matt Smith and Bucky Brooks to discuss the combine process and told them that he spoke to 22 teams on Sunday. When asked about the Minnesota Vikings as a possible destination, Richardson said they were very interested and have already made plans for the defensive tackle to visit the team.
"It went pretty well and I'm going to visit the franchise probably April 1 or 2," Richardson said. "They were pretty interested in me, but I want to go a little bit higher than that."
A big question for Richardson, though, is where he'll fit along an NFL defensive line as some project him as a 3-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme and some as a 5-technique in a 3-4. "For the most part, they said the same thing that just about every other team has talked to me about," Richardson said of the Vikings. "They want me to play 3-technique, some say 5-technique and some asked me what I want to play. I put on a lot of weight so I could show people that I can be a heavy defensive tackle, but I played light during the season at around 285 [pounds]."
In a scouting report from December, Fairburn complimented Richardson on his versatility that adds to his value as a draft prospect:
With his combination of skills, Richardson is a versatile player. That may be his biggest asset. 3-4 and 4-3 teams alike will be able to find a spot for him, and Richardson could become an impact player in either defense.
Also complimentary of Richardson was NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, who said in a conference call that the Missouri defensive tackle was "probably more gifted" than Star Lotulelei:
"I think his natural position is a three-technique defensive tackle in a four-man front but it's not the only position he can play. You can move him around and just about all 32 teams in the league can find a way to use his skill set. He's really exciting. He's got a ton of upside and he's as physically gifted a defensive player as there is in this draft."
Richardson measured in at 6-2 and a half, 294-pounds at the 2013 NFL Combine. "It was stressful, but I had a blast being here," he told Brooks and Smith. "Meeting all these coaches I see on TV and just getting to know them a little bit for a quick 15 minutes. So it was just a great feeling being here and getting to know everyone."
The Missouri Pro Day is scheduled for March 7.
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