In just his fifth NFL season, Paul Richardson Jr. has had plenty of major moments in his career thanks to playing for one of most successful NFL franchises of the last decade in the Seattle Seahawks. He brings in a winning culture to an offense searching for a new identity this season and, like the rest of Washington's receiving core, still has plenty of room to develop his overall skillset.
The Colorado product has spent a majority of his training camp developing chemistry with new quarterback Alex Smith and learning head coach Jay Gruden's system, but he's also in the midst of his first transition period since he was drafted by Seattle in 2014.
"I don’t feel any pressure," Richardson said. "I know I’ve talked to a few of the young guys about just not being nervous 'cause we had a scrimmage and you could tell -- like it was more fans here and they kind of, eyes are real wide, so you know you just talk to them let them know it’s still football. You know just get as comfortable as you can while you’re warming up and just have fun you kinda gotta block out the noise. So, I think our young guys are ready to perform, I think especially in the receiver room I think they’re ready for their opportunity to show what they can do at this level and you know I’m looking forward to watching them play."
The Washington Redskins conducted their eleventh day of training camp practice Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
Of course, the Los Angeles native signed a multi-year deal with the Redskins to serve as a game-changing player that is at his best with the football in his hands downfield. However, his big play potential also should create more opportunities for Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder to do damage, taking safeties with him as they aim to prevent a home-run play.
This luxury is a storyline that can't be stressed enough when previewing the Redskins offense. It's been overstated, but the depth among the offense at essentially every skilled position is what's going to be the biggest challenge for those that oppose Matt Cavanaugh's group this season.
"Paul is a guy that you just have to continue to watch on tape, you know, quarterbacks when they see him or even when he doesn’t get the ball there’s a lot of things that he does, when he doesn’t get the ball you say dang I could’ve thrown it to Paul [Richardson Jr.] here, too," Jay Gruden said. "He does a great job of getting open and he’s getting a great-better feel for what we’re trying to do, the angles and the routes. I’ve been very impressed with Paul, coming in here learning an entirely new system...He’s the type of guy like I said that Alex [Smith] and Colt [McCoy] they're going to have to just continue to watch him because he really can run."
Richardson's quick understanding of a new system gives him a chance to focus on building off what was easily his best season, recording a career-high of just over 700 receiving yards and scoring six touchdowns.
“If y’all watching, he’s [Richardson Jr.] a speedster, man," Josh Doctson said. "He’s a great teammate. He has huge football IQ, man. He’s a football player. You don’t really gotta tell Paul a lot of things out here. He just comes out here and it’s natural to him.”
Richardson's speed is easily his most recognizable trait, and rightfully so because that's how he's made success in his four seasons as a professional football player.
More importantly though, it's how he's going to further develop into becoming a multi-threat receiver that can hurt opposing cornerbacks. Richardson's time with the Seahawks is important to note because he's worked against one of the game's greatest cornerbacks of the last decade in Richard Sherman.
Going against a top flight defensive back like the three-time All Pro gives any receiver a greater understanding of how to get past the major names of the NFL's secondaries, which for Richardson continues with matching up against Josh Norman in practice.
"I think they’re both talented guys man, you know I was fortunate to go against Richard for four years," Richardson said."Richard is you know the first guy to ever grab me and he told me, ‘Look stay after practice, we’ve got stuff to work on.’ And he liked being challenged by my speed and I liked being challenged by how high his IQ was and the angles he attacked because he wasn’t the faster guy. And Josh Norman plays well in our defense man, he plays really well, you know coming here he has really good ball skills you know DBs usually don’t. He can track the ball. He can make plays on the ball. I think that he’s really good with his angles as well, he knows himself as a competitor and as a defensive back so, you know I’m fortunate to go from one team playing against a great DB to go to another team playing against a great DB."
The Redskins should be, too.