As the 2014 NFL Draft draws near, let’s take a look at Pac-12 prospect Paul Richardson.

Richardson, a 6’1’’ 170 pound wide receiver from the University of Colorado, was a standout player for the Buffs. He finished his CU career third all-time in receptions (156), fifth in receiving yards (2,423), and second in touchdown receptions (21). These are significant statistics coming from a lineage of successful receivers from the Colorado program. In addition he had three career 200-yard games, a CU record (he had three of the school’s five total). His nine 100-yard plus games were third in school history. In addition, he had 13 plays of 50-yards or longer in his career, all receptions. Overall, he set or tied 29 school records.

Richardson is a terrific athlete who appears every bit as agile and explosive in 2013 after missing the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL. He has very good straight-line speed making him an excellent option on vertical routes. He is a savvy route-runner who alters his technique off the line and throughout his route to gain separation from cornerbacks.

Richardsonslim build has caused struggles with durability throughout his career. In addition he has too often sensed the oncoming defender and allows the pass to slip through his fingers. Lastly he doesn't offer much as a downfield blocker.

Richardson has been working hard to bulk up and add muscle while at the same time maintaining his agility. Some will compare Richardson to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Emmanuel Sanders or more established teammate Antonio Brown. Until Richardson can catch the ball with more consistency, however, he is more likely to earn more of a complementary role in the NFL despite natural playmaking ability.

The NFL is a sucker for speed at the receiver position, and few possess a more exciting combination of height and explosiveness than Richardson.

Despite limited weapons around him, as mentioned previously, Richardson scored 21 touchdowns during his illustrious career with the Buffaloes, averaging an eye-popping 41.8 yards per score. Richardson answered critics who questioned his ability to stay healthy with a career-high 79 receptions for 1,280 yards and 10 scores for Colorado in 2013, proving remarkably explosive after missing the 2012 season with a torn ACL.

So where will Richardson go? Here is one scenario that is playing out to be likely:

The San Francisco 49ers haven't made huge splashes in free agency, but they have made smart, calculated decisions that have positioned them well heading into the 2014 NFL Draft. In order for yet another Super Bowl run they'll need to use some of their 11 picks (six in the first three rounds) to bring in playmakers and, specifically, add speed on offense. Do not be surprised if one of these picks is used on Richardson. The 49ers are primed with the strong-handed wide out duo of Anquan Boldin and a healthy Michael Crabtree. (Second-year pro Quinton Patton has a lot of potential, but he's more of a slot receiver in Harbaugh's offense).The Niners could use a dynamic receiver like Brandin Cooks, providing the Oregon State product is still available at No. 30. But if San Francisco chooses to wait to pick up wide receiver in the second round they might be the first team to snatch him up.

Other teams, that he may land in the second round to our the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers but he can possibly fall to the third round to the Oakland Raiders or Buffalo Bills. Richardson has lineage in the NFL he  is the son of Paul, Sr. who played wide receiver in the NFL with  Eagles, Raiders, Packers and the Jets.

 

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