Former Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was selected by the New York Jets with the 13th overall pick in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday in New York.
The Jets loaded up on defense in the first round after also taking Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner with the No. 9 pick. New York acquired the 13th pick from Tampa Bay for cornerback Darrelle Revis on Sunday.
Zaviar Gooden, LB: After a good senior season, Gooden caught the attention of scouts with strong performances at the NFL Combine in February and Missouri's pro day in March. Scouts Inc. projects Gooden as the second pick of the fifth round, 135th overall, to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
T.J. Moe, WR: Although he's very popular among Missouri fans, Moe's short stature and lack of break-away speed doesn't make him attractive to NFL scouts. He was able to find a niche and be productive during his four years as a Tiger, catching 92 passes in 2010 as a sophomore. Moe was invited to the NFL Combine in February, but Scouts Inc. does not project him to be drafted this weekend.
Kip Edwards, CB: Edwards, who is Gooden's cousin, was not invited to the NFL Combine, but had a strong showing at Missouri's pro day last month. Edwards was a two-year starter for the Tigers and has NFL-caliber size, but Scouts Inc. does not project him being drafted.
Brad Madison, DE: Madison was converted from offensive line to defensive line before his freshman season, and the move paid dividends when Madison had 7.5 sacks in 2010 as a sophomore. Injuries hampered Madison during his junior year, and he never reached the same level of production. Scouts Inc. does not project him to be drafted this weekend.
Kendial Lawrence, RB: Lawrence was Missouri's most productive running back last season after the Tigers lost starter Henry Josey to a knee injury. He was not expected to be on many draft boards, but has met with a few teams. Scouts Inc. does not project him being drafted.
Richardson adds depth to a defensive front that includes two other first-rounders in Muhammad Wilkerson (2011) and Quinton Coples (2012). Richardson could compete with Kenrick Ellis, the team's third-round pick in 2011, to be the Jets' starting nose tackle after the team released veteran Sione Po'uha.
Richardson, who transferred to Missouri from the College of the Sequoias before the 2011 season, fulfilled his potential as a junior in 2012. In the Tigers' first season in the Southeastern Conference, Richardson finished with 75 tackles — most in the conference among interior defensive linemen. He also racked up 10.5 tackles-for-loss, 4.5 sacks and three forced fumbles — good enough to earn him a second-team All-SEC honor.
In the 2011 season, Richardson fought through a shoulder injury to start two games and make 37 tackles, including eight tackles-for-loss. Despite the limited playing time, he was named an All-Big 12 honorable mention by the conference's coaches.
At 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing 294 pounds, Richardson has been praised for his athleticism and quickness. Despite his girth, he ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.71 seconds at Missouri's pro day on March 8.
Before making the jump to college football, Richardson starred at Gateway Tech High School in St. Louis from 2005 to 2008. He made 88 tackles and recorded 19 sacks in his senior season. He also made an impact on the offensive side of the ball, scoring eight touchdowns as a tight end in 2008.
The Jets' pick on Thursday was met with skepticism by ESPN analysts John Gruden and Mel Kiper Jr. Gruden, the former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, questioned Richardson's college pedigree as well as his ability to transition successfully to the NFL.
“I don’t think he’s a natural defensive tackle," Gruden said. "He’s got a long way to go if you ask me.”
While Kiper Jr. said he likes Richardson as a player, he scrutinized the Jets' decision to draft him ahead of players they had a greater need for, like quarterback Geno Smith or defensive end Jarvis Jones.
"I like Sheldon Richardson, but I don't see the pick for the New York Jets," Kiper Jr. said. "I really don't."
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.