The New York Jets claimed former St. Louis Rams running back Daryl Richardson from waivers a couple of months ago. By all accounts, he is having a strong camp and has the chance to solidify his roster spot with a solid preseason. Some people have stated that they don’t want to see the Jets carry four running backs, but with concerns about Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson’s health, it would be wise to carry four on a team that will predominantly run theball. However, I don’t think you carry Richardson because he’s just an extra body; you carry him because he has the potential to actively contribute. Why?
Richardson started 23 games in college. He ran for 2,303 yards on 453 carries with a 5 YPC average. He scored 34 touchdowns and displayed good hands, while being a very willing blocker. Richardson consistently made plays in space. Coming out of Abilene Christian, Richardson ran a 4.4 40 at his pro day and showed his athleticism by posting a 40″ vertical leap.
Richardson was asked to backup former Rams running back Steven Jackson when he was drafted in the 7th round. As a backup and change of pace back, Richardson provided value for the Rams offense. He had 4.8 yards per carry and brought a big play element to the Rams backfield that Jackson did not possess at that point in his career. Richardson was also a weapon out of the backfield and the Rams (much like his college coaches) utilized screens to get him the ball in the space.
One thing I noticed that the Rams did, which his college coaches didn’t, was put Richardson split out wide to get him matched up against linebackers where that speed could be used. He was durable as well, as he played all 16 games. One issue that he did have as a rookie was a fumbling problem, losing the ball 3 times on 98 carries. His second year, he was actually asked to carry a heavier workload early on but he couldn’t duplicate the success he had in his rookie year. His yards per carry dipped to 3.1, but he did improve his ball security as he had 0 fumbles during his second year. He increased his yards per reception from 6.8 during his rookie year to 8.6 during his second year.What To Expect
Richardson is slightly different than Powell, as he a little more of a speed back. Richardson is also a guy that can be used on the field with CJ, potentially out of the shotgun, and present matchup problems because you can’t cover both CJ and Richardson with linebackers. He improved fumbling problem from a year ago and as mentioned improves your offensive speed, gone are the days where the Jets have some of the slowest running backs in the league. Could the Jets could utilize him as a kick returner? He excels in space and would allow for the Jets to part ways with Jacoby Ford, who does not provide much value since he hasn’t been a productive kick returner since 2010. I think there is a spot for Richardson on the Jets 53 man roster, and I think he can be a contributor this year as a speed back and potential option at kick returner.
Plus, and this should excite you guys; he’s Clyde Gates’s cousin. #FreeClydeGates
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