Hawks go burner, then bruiser

Seattle shores up the offense with first 2 picks, adding a receiver and a lineman

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.comMay 10, 2014 

RENTON — The team with the NFL’s No. 1 defense turned to offense on Day Two of the draft.

The Seattle Seahawks selected wide receiver Paul Richardson of Colorado and offensive tackle Justin Britt of Missouri in Friday’s second round. Those players arrived after yet another adjustment by Seattle’s front office, which has made 22 trades during the draft since taking over in 2010.

After trading out of the first round Thursday, the Seahawks took another step back early Friday.

Thursday, Seattle traded the 32nd overall

pick to the Minnesota Vikings for a second-round pick (40th overall) and a fourth-round pick (108th overall).

The Seahawks had submitted a name to NFL draft headquarters in New York before executing the first-day trade. The name? Paul Richardson.

Friday, the Seahawks traded the 40th and 146th (fifth round) overall picks to the Detroit Lions for the 45th, 111th (fourth round) and 227th (seventh round) overall picks. The Seahawks started the draft Thursday with six picks and had gathered two more before their first selection Friday.

That pick turned out to be Richardson, a slender bullet who made 83 catches for 1,343 yards and 10 touchdowns last season for the Buffaloes.

“We’ve been watching it the whole time, hoping we could get there,” head coach Pete Carroll said of the pick.

Richardson is 6 feet tall and 183 pounds. That’s a decided bump from the 175 pounds he carried at February’s NFL combine and the 160 to 165 pounds he played with during his time at Colorado.

Another combine measurement was crucial: Richardson put together a blistering 4.33-second 40-yard dash. The time left him disappointed, since he said he ran a 4.28 on Jan. 3 in California.

“He’s really got characteristics like the guys that have been successful for us,” Carroll said. “He’s got quickness kind of like Doug (Baldwin). He’s got speed kind of like Percy (Harvin). He’s got that catching range kind of like Jermaine (Kearse).”

Two potholes from Richardson’s past appear to be covered. He originally committed to UCLA, but never played a down there. He and two other players — his cousin Shaquille Richardson and Josh Shirley, the latter of whom later transferred to Washington — were dismissed by then-coach Rick Neuheisel.

They were arrested by University of California police on suspicion of stealing a purse and faced felony theft charges.

“He made a mistake,” general manager John Schneider said.

The other issue for Richardson was a 2012 anterior cruciate ligament tear. He took a full year off and returned healthy enough to put together a bountiful senior season. Richardson set or tied 29 school records in his three years on the field at Colorado.

“My knee hasn’t been an issue since I took my brace off,” said Richardson, a Los Angeles native.

The Seahawks were evasive in order not to tip their preferences.

The team’s Southwest area scout, Matt Berry, worked with Richardson for three days at the NFL combine because Richardson randomly ended up in his workout group. But Richardson did not meet with Carroll or Schneider in Indianapolis.

They also did not bring him to Seattle for a workout. Rather, Richardson met with Seahawks sports psychologist Michael Gervais in Los Angeles and remained in contact with Berry. Even Richardson was surprised by the Seahawks’ interest.

“I figured it out when the general manager called me,” Richardson said.

Britt had some idea he might be joining the Super Bowl champions.

He had talked with offensive line coach Tom Cable at the combine, who had scouted him since his junior season at Missouri. That year, the 6-6, 325-pound lineman was playing right tackle, which is where he’ll get his first look with the Seahawks. He played mostly left tackle his senior season.

“He’ll compete with Michael Bowie at right tackle right from the beginning,” Cable said.

Britt, who is married and has a child, played all five positions on the offensive line during college. The Seahawks were also intrigued by his 45-0 record as a high school wrestler. He won the Missouri state heavyweight title.

“He’s no-nonsense,” Cable said. “It’s really a perfect hit for us, what we need to have right now.”

The Seahawks now pivot to Saturday’s bonanza. In Rounds 4 through 7, the Seahawks have six picks.

MEET THE NEW SEAHAWKS

PAUL RICHARDSON

Position: Wide receiver

Height: 6-foot

Weight: 183

College: Colorado (transferred from UCLA)

High school: Junipero Serra (Los Angeles)

2013 stats: 83 catches, 1,343 yards, 10 TDs

Overview: Best player on a bad Colorado team, he emerged as one of the Pac-12 Conference’s top receivers. He’s thought of as a true speed guy, and he said he ran an electronically timed 4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash Jan. 3, which helps alleviate some concerns about the torn anterior cruciate ligament that wiped out his 2012 season. He returned in 2013 and finished second in the Pac-12 in receiving yards. His career reception total (156) is third-best in Colorado history, and his receiving yards total (2,412) is fifth-best. He landed at Colorado after he was dismissed from UCLA — along with cousin Shaquille Richardson, a cornerback who transferred to Arizona, and Josh Shirley, a defensive end who transferred to Washington — after being accused of stealing another student’s purse before the 2010 season.

JUSTIN BRITT

Position: Offensive lineman

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 325

College: Missouri

High school: Lebanon (Missouri)

Overview: Britt said he played all five offensive line positions in college, but that his most extensive experience was at left tackle. He’ll compete with Michael Bowie for the right tackle job in Seattle. Britt started 36 games and played in 49 games during his collegiate career and blocked for a running game that produced 3,300 yards, best in school history. He was a first-team all-Southeastern Conference selection as a result. Britt’s 2012 season was cut short by an ACL injury suffered at Florida when he tried to tackle a defensive player returning an interception, but he said any concerns about his injury are in the past.

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @Todd_Dybas christian.caple@thenewstribune.com

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