Everybody loves a good undrafted free agent story. It’s great to see a player who comes in off the street, fight his way on to the roster, and beat the odds to form an NFL career. Each year the Packers keep a few players like this and often these players find ways to contribute, especially on defense and special teams. Our last player, Sean Richardson, fits this mold and may just have a chance to make a name for himself in 2013.
Richardson played five games in 2012 contributing primarily on special teams. He was able to get four tackles during that time. Despite having strong moments in training camp Richardson spent the majority of the season buried on the depth chart behind M.D. Jennings, Jerron McMillian, and the part time safety play of Charles Woodson.
It’s difficult to say exactly who replaced Richardson once he went down with his back injury. I suppose it opened up more snaps for guys like Terrell Manning or Jamari Lattimore in the special teams units. The player who filled his place on the roster was also a special teams player, Jeremy Ross; but Ross was used more as a returner than in the coverage units.
It was unclear what the nature of Richardson’s injury was when he was sent to injured reserve. The report was merely that Richardson had a back injury, but whether it was a new injury or merely pain that could not be managed was unclear. Since then we have not received much news on that front. While back injuries can be tricky, it does not appear to be unreasonable to expect Richardson back in time for workouts and OTA’s, or training camp at the latest.
2012 Roster Status
Richardson’s roster status will probably depend on the draft. If the Packers draft another safety high in the draft then his shot at getting on the roster may be slim. If the team passes on a safety then Richardson may have an interesting opportunity. The Packers have had real success in developing defensive backs the last few years. The best example of this is the jump in ability that Jennings had from his rookie year as an UDFA to holding down a starting safety job the next year. Richardson may be the next in line for that sort of talent jump. At 6’2" 216lbs he has the size that both McMillian and Jennings lack, which may allow him to compete for some playing time should he have a breakout preseason.