Seahawks' rookie receiver Paul Richardson flaunting his speed

Posted Jun 18, 2014

Rookie wide receiver Paul Richardson is fast, and becomes even faster when the ball is in the air and he has a chance to rundown a touchdown reception – just as he did in Wednesday’s minicamp practice.

In his first practice as a member of the Seahawks, Paul Richardson ran past fellow draft choice Eric Pinkins along the sideline, shifted effortlessly into another gear and ran under a pass from Keith Price for a 65-yard touchdown.

That was during the team’s rookie minicamp last month.


Offensive player of the day: Paul Richardson. The rookie wide receiver was on it, as the team’s top draft choice made a couple of impressive catches. The best was his falling grab of a pass from Russell Wilson that resulted in a touchdown as Richardson did a somersault into the end zone as he was coming down with the ball. But the second-round draft choice made another nice grab of another nicely thrown ball by Wilson and also got open to catch a pass from Terrelle Pryor.

Offensive play of the day: Richardson’s TD catch, of course.

Defensive player of the day: Mike Morgan. In a linebacker crew that includes two-time leading tackler Bobby Wagner, the versatile and productive K.J. Wright, Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith and on-the-mend strong-side ’backer Bruce Irvin, it’s easy to overlook Morgan at times. Wednesday was not one of those times. Morgan broke up a pass to tight end Luke Willson, got to running back Christine Michael for a 2-yard loss and pressured Tarvaris Jackson into throwing an incompletion.

Defensive play of the day: On a play where Russell Wilson went to wide receiver Ricardo Lockette along the sideline, cornerback Byron Maxwell went up and over Lockette to make a one-handed interception. One of the officials who was working practice ruled that Maxwell did not get both feet inbounds, but that didn’t nullify the effort that went into the pick.

In his most recent practice as a member of the Seahawks, the rookie wide receiver did that opening act one better by making a falling catch of a pass from Russell Wilson that turned into a 65-yard touchdown as Richardson somersaulted into the end zone.

That was during the second of the team’s three full-squad minicamp practices on Wednesday.

As with his showing at the all-rookie camp, the already-fast Richardson got even faster with the ball in the air.

“I try to just time the ball up to make the play,” Richardson said when asked about that extra gear.

Which of the two catches was better?

“They were similar,” he said. “On deep balls, I feel like receivers should not be out-thrown. So we’ve got to find a way – find another gear, some people say – and make the play.”

And making big plays like this is nothing new for Richardson. He’s just doing it on a bigger stage.

At the University of Colorado, the 6-foot, 183-pound Richardson averaged 40 yards on his 21 touchdowns receptions. He had nine TD catches of 60-plus yards and four of 70-plus, as well as yearly averages of 30.3, 37.8 and 47.0 yards on his scoring plays.

That’s one of the reasons the Seahawks made Richardson the 45th pick in May’s NFL Draft – after trading out of the first round and then down in the second round, adding picks that turned into defensive end Cassius Marsh (fourth round) and fullback Kiero Small (seventh round).

“I like a lot about him,” coach Pete Carroll said after Richardson was drafted. “He’s got great qualities. His speed is extraordinary. He has terrific hands and a great catching range.”

And, he does a mean somersault.

But Richardson also is a rookie, and one who sat out the final two days of the rookie minicamp and some of the OTA sessions to rest a sore shoulder. That’s why he’s been leaning on the veterans in his group.

“It’s a lot different than college because guys are stronger, guys are faster,” Richardson said. “But I think that’s part of going up in every level of football. Guys get bigger. Guys get stronger. Guys get faster. So you have to adapt and you have to be able to make plays, and your body is going to catchup with your mind.”

It’s been during this catchup process than Richardson has relied on the former rookies who have emerged from the transition to catch on in the NFL.

“I’ve leaned on Doug Baldwin. I’ve leaned on Phillip Bates. I’ve asked (Sidney) Rice questions,” Richardson said. “I’ve asked as many questions as I can. Jermaine (Kearse) has been a lot of help. So I’ve asked all the guys, because each of them has a different perspective and I want to get everyone’s perspective and find different ways to add to my game and add to my learning experience.”

Richardson also is learning what it’s like to lineup across from some of the best defensive backs in the league – the All-Pro duo of cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas (strong safety Kam Chancellor is recovering from surgery), as well as cornerback Byron Maxwell and nickel back Jeremy Lane. Then there are backups DeShawn Shead, Tharold Simon, Jeron Johnson and Pinkins.

They are tall, and play even longer. They are physical, and flaunt it by playing aggressively. Nothing comes easy for the Seahawks’ receivers in practice, despite how Richardson can make it look.

“It’s great for me to go against those guys,” Richardson said. “Playing against all these great defenders in the secondary is just more preparation to help me get better and get me ready for the season.”