Bill Belichick: Jordan Richards’ Leadership, Football Character Earned Rave Reviews

FOXBORO, Mass. — There’s a reason New England Patriots second-round draft pick Jordan Richards was called “Coach” at Stanford.

Richards’ intelligence on and off the field drew head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots to the 64th overall pick.

“Yeah, everybody you talk to, they rave about it: about his communication, his leadership, his football character on and off the field,” Belichick said Friday night at Gillette Stadium. “I don’t think there’s any issues with that.”

Belichick said Richards played free and strong safety at Stanford but mostly played the latter down near the line of scrimmage. Belichick also apparently did the media a solid by drafting Richards.

“I think he’s a guy you’ll like having around here,” Belichick said.

Richards’ intelligence was evident in his 15-minute conference call with the New England media Friday. Belichick said sometimes book smarts don’t translate to football IQ, but for Richards, that shouldn’t be a problem.

“Some guys are football smart, and they’re not smart in other ways,” Belichick said. “Other guys get a 1,500 on their SATs and can’t get a double-team block right. No, that definitely — my experience, sometimes it correlates, sometimes it doesn’t, but I don’t think you just take it for granted. I think a smart guy can learn.

“Some guys learn — just like all of us. Some guys can learn electronics, some of us can’t. Some guys can learn something else, some of us can’t. We’re all wired differently. Some guys, football comes real easy to them: They can see what all 22 players are doing, can see what all 11 guys are doing on their side, how it all fits together. It’s easy for them. Other guys, once you get past their assignment, it’s the big picture, the overall concepts don’t fit together. It doesn’t come so easy for them. Depends on what position they play, but I’d say in his case, he’s a smart, instinctive football player and the rest of it’s good too. And so is (Geneo) Grissom.”

Richards joins a crowded depth chart at safety, but Belichick noted he should contribute on special teams, as well.

“Richards is a strong tackler, instinctive guy,” Belichick said. “I think he’ll be a good, certainly be able to play on the punt team, kickoff return, kickoff coverage, punt return; even be a matchup guy outside maybe or a holdup guy in the box. I’m sure he’ll be able to contribute in the kicking game.”

Richards is open to playing special teams, which is a unit that Belichick holds dear to his heart.

“I got to play a fair amount of teams kind of throughout my career,” Richards said Friday on a conference call. “The amount of snaps I got varied year to year, but it’s something that I take really seriously and if you want play football, especially at this level, you better contribute somehow on special teams. So I’m juiced. I’m ready for it.”

Thumbnail photo via Bob Stanton/USA TODAY Sports Images

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