With Golden Tate leaving Seattle to go to Detroit in free agency, the Seahawks needed to draft a receiver who could replace him. Seattle traded the 40th overall pick to Detroit in exchange for the 45th, 111th and 227th overall picks since they felt their guy would be available at pick 45. The strategy worked and they drafted Colorado’s Paul Richardson as their first selection, the highest receiver on their board.
Richardson ran a 4.40 second 40-yard dash at the combine. His time qualified him as the third fastest receiver in this year’s draft. His vertical jump was 38.0 inches and he jumped 124.0 inches in the broad jump. His stats are nearly the same to Percy Harvin’s 2009 combine results. In 2009, Harvin ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds, jumped 37.0 inches in vertical jump, and 123.0 inches in the broad jump.
The list of similarities between Richardson and Harvin continues. Even though Richardson played on one of the Pac-12’s worst offenses, he has quite the resume. He had 83 receptions for 1,343 yards, the second most receiving yards in the Pac-12 conference last season. He scored 10 touchdowns ranking him 12th among total touchdown leaders in the Pac-12. He put up these impressive numbers even though he was the focal point of every defense Colorado played. He broke or tied 29 school records and became Colorado’s first all-conference receiver in more than 15 years.
Harvin played for Florida from 2006 to 2008 under Urban Meyer. His senior year he had 40 receptions for 644 yards and seven touchdowns. Over his three year career at Florida he had 32 touchdowns, setting the school’s record.
While both set records, Richardson and Harvin have had more than their fair share of injuries. Since they are not the biggest receivers around, they are more prone to injuries. Richardson tore his ACL during his junior year, ending his season. Harvin underwent heel surgery during his junior year, but has also suffered from Achilles tendonitis, knee tendonitis, and hamstring issues. Last season, Harvin played in only three games due to a labrum tear in his hip that occurred in the offseason. His hip gave him issues during his first game of the season against his old team, the Minnesota Vikings. He sat out the rest of the game. When he was cleared to return to the field again for the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the New Orleans Saints, he suffered a concussion.
Richardson and Harvin came back from their injuries with success. Richardson came back stronger than ever after his injury to have an outstanding senior year. For Harvin, he made another comeback to the field for Super Bowl XVIII after being ruled out for the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. Harvin’s biggest impact play was returning the second half opening punt for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos.
Assuming Harvin stays healthy and having Richardson on the field, the Seahawks will have a vertical threat that will make it difficult for safeties to stack the box to try to stop the Seahawks’ power running game. This will allow Marshawn Lynch to launch into full beast mode. The speedy receivers are sure to give defenses a challenge.
In an interview after organized team activities a few weeks ago, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said, “Our receivers right now are as fast as it gets.” He also mentioned he thought Richardson looked “exceptional.”
From what I have read, I agree with Wilson. This season’s lineup of wide receivers appears to be better than last season’s group. I think Seattle’s decision in drafting a fast receiver was a good one. It seems like they saw a young Percy Harvin in Richardson. What they lack size they make up in speed. Defensive backs across the league better watch out. Richardson will be able to learn from Harvin and perfect his skills. Because of the similarities in their careers, I think Richardson will produce comparable results. The Seahawks had the best defense last year. If they continue to add the right pieces, maybe they will also have the best offense.