Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated penned a really good look at how week Jets rookie Sheldon Richardson is playing.
So far, Richardson has lived up to the pick — and the hype — as few other rookies have this season. He’s played nearly every gap for a Jets defensive line that is one of the NFL’s best, and his excellence goes far beyond the basic numbers. 3.5 sacks and 37 solo tackles don’t really sum up a guy who has blown up tape nearly every week.
Farrar then explores the tape to show examples of Richardson's excellence. Click over to read.
Even though Richardson's rookie season has come with more fanfare, it reminds me of the rookie campaign Muhammad Wilkerson put together two years ago. Wilkerson also played strongly against the run and flashed as a pass rusher. Mastering an interior line spot usually takes time. There are not many rookies who step in and make an immediate impact. A lot of players who are used to dominating inferior competition in college are overwhelmed at first by the strength and athleticism of NFL players. They have to learn technique because they cannot just rely on natural talent. The fact that Richardson has picked things up so quickly bodes very well for his future. As he gets more acclimated to the NFL, his play might get even better just as Wilkerson's has.