Jacksonville Jaguars Executive Vice-President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin won two Super Bowl titles with the New York Giants by continually adding talent on both the offensive and defensive line.
The Jaguars followed that model this season as well when it added tackle Will Richardson from North Carolina State. Richardson is expected to be a swing tackle and potentially play guard to add depth to an already solid unit.
Richardson lasted until the fourth round, potentially because of off-field issues while a member of the Wolfpack football team. Richardson was arrested for a DWI in November 2015 that forced a one-game suspension and he was suspended for the first two games of the 2017 season because of a marijuana-related violation. Like Dede Westbrook, who was chosen in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft who had two arrests for domestic violence while at Oklahoma, Coughlin and the organization are banking on the past is just that, and that Richardson has moved forward.
"“I’m here to show them [the Jaguars] what I can do,” Richardson said on Friday after the first practice of rookie minicamp. In interviewing him, I saw that Richardson was just as enthusiastic after his first time on the Jaguars’ practice field as he was when he heard his name called on the third day of the NFL Draft."
Will Richardson did not shy away from questions about his past in the conference call he had with local media right after Jacksonville’s selection. He said he knew why it took so long to hear his name called and will try to remedy that with his work on the field and in the film room.
"“Honestly, I just prayed to God. I just asked him – he knows how I felt in the past. He knows what I do now. He knows I am a changed person,” Richardson explained. “Of course, it is on my mind. I was falling and falling. My off-the-field issues of the past were the reason it was happening, so now that is even more of an urge for me to show people that I am not the person they think I am. I can really stay focused and be on track and stick to football.”"
The first thing that stands out about Richardson is his massive size. At 6-foot-6 and 322 pounds, he is hard to miss and having solid veterans on the team to learn from can only make him better. He said no one has reached out to him yet, but he is looking forward to gaining as much knowledge as possible from the coaching staff and the offensive linemen on the roster.
Will Richardson said playing against Bradley Chubb, who was taken fifth by the Denver Broncos and Kentavius Street helped him improve last season. Chubb was regarded by many as the top overall prospect in the NFL Draft.
"“I feel like going against those guys has helped me a lot. Realizing what I am going to be facing at the next level. I feel like I got the best of both worlds going against him [Street] and Chubb all year for the last four years of my career,” Richardson added."
The one thing Richardson said was he knows he can use his versatility to help this team and the offensive line, specifically. He also knows whatever is asked of him in training camp, he will attack with the same kind of toughness he did in college.
"“The way I look at it, I will play whatever the team needs me to do and I am willing to learn. I played a lot of right tackle, but definitely still comfortable on the left side,” Richardson said. “I have been down in Dallas training at APEC and I practiced all left tackle. As far as guard, I never played it in college.”"