Carnell Lake offers CB Richardson a second opportunity
Lake offers cornerback a second opportunity
By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
May 10, 2014
Defensive back Shaquille Richardson In the East-West Shrine Classic NCAA football game in St. Petersburg, Fla. in earlier this year.
Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake was the first college coach to offer Shaquille Richardson a scholarship. Five years later, Lake is giving Richardson an opportunity to draw an NFL paycheck.
The Steelers selected Richardson, a 6-foot, 194-pound cornerback, with the first of their two fifth-round picks.
Before being hired by the Steelers, Lake coached defensive backs at UCLA, his alma mater, for one season. Lake discovered Richardson at Los Alamitos High School, where he played in relative anonymity.
"He was overlooked in high school," Lake said. "He didn't have any offers. We looked at him on tape. He was at one of the camps, and he was playing man-to-man coverage. I said, 'Wow, this kid can cover man-to-man. I think we should bring him into camp and see if he can cover the receivers we have in camp, and if he can, we should offer him a scholarship.' He came in and was the best cover guy we had. We offered him a scholarship that day."
Richardson never played at UCLA. In June, before his freshman season, he and three other incoming recruits were arrested for suspicion of felony theft. Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel dismissed them from the program. The three were arrested by police June 23, 2010 on suspicion of stealing a purse. The charges were later dropped.
One of the others involved was Paul Richardson, Shaquille's cousin who transferred to Colorado and was taken by Seattle Friday in the second round of the draft.
Richardson transferred to Arizona, where he started 37 games over four seasons. With his size, the Steelers envision Richardson being matched against some of the bigger and taller receivers that have been entering the league and posing matchup problems for defenses.
"These days with the kind of receivers we are seeing, big, fast receivers, speed is a good thing," Lake said. "Shaq is probably 4.5-ish. I think that is fast enough especially if he is a good technician."
The Steelers needed to add some depth to the cornerback position because there is much uncertainty at the position beyond the 2014 season. Veteran Ike Taylor is 34 and likely in his final season. Cortez Allen is in the final year of his rookie contract and William Gay is entering his eighth season in the league.
The Steelers are looking to develop another corner that can be a future contributor.
"I'm definitely aware [of the age in the secondary], but I'm definitely coming to learn from Ike Taylor and other veteran defensive backs they have on the team," Richardson said. "I'm just ready to work. I got a lot to prove and I'm ready to work."
The Steelers are not in a hurry to rush Richardson into a role on defense. As it turned out, cornerback was not as big of a need for the Steelers as many analysts had believed.
Lake agreed with defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who said Friday that he liked many of the free-agent cornerbacks on the roster. Lake singled out Antwon Blake, who joined the team in 2013, and Brice McCain, who was signed as a free agent earlier this spring.
"Antwon Blake is one, very fast, quick aggressive corner that I liked coming out last year," Lake said. "We were fortunate to grab him in free agency, and he's turned out to be very productive for us, especially on special teams. We got Brice McCain in the offseason, who I have been working with on the field the last couple of weeks. I'm really impressed with the way he moves.
"I think these guys are just getting started. They have the ability to cover and stay close to receivers. For guys who have been picked up in free agency that may have been overlooked in the past, I'm pretty excited about them. I think we have the ability to plug in and play some of the players we've picked up."
5 reasons to like Shaquille Richardson
Posted May 10, 2014
By Mike Prisuta
It took until Round 5, but the Steelers finally added a CB in Shaquille Richardson
Why you should be excited about Shaquille Richardson:
*He plays cornerback.
* His pro day numbers included a 4.43 40-yard dash, a 38.5-inch vertical leap and a 6.95 in the three-cone drill. Those numbers suggest speed, agility, and explosion in his 6-foot, 194-pound physical repertoire.
* He was originally recruited to UCLA by current Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake before eventually transferring to Arizona, so there’s an existing relationship between the new player and the existing position coach.
* Richardson had a team-leading four interceptions in 2011, a team-leading 14 passes defensed in 2012 and factored in on a pair of interceptions in Arizona’s upset of No. 5 Oregon in 2013, so there are ball-skills with which to work.
* He produced 142 unassisted tackles, 189 total stops and eight tackles for loss in 49 career games (37 starts), all of which suggest a willingness to mix it up and an effectiveness while doing so.
This years draft reminds me a bit of a mix between Bengal and Raider drafts. Troubled but talented guys. Speed. I don't have a problem with taking a chance on a kid if they have done their homework.
These days it's very difficult for any team to draft seven players without one or two having some sort of "troubled" history. Which makes drafting even more of a crap shoot than it already was. But then, I can recall a Steeler in the 1970s who went round the bend and tried to shoot down a police copter on the Ohio Turnpike. Now THAT was trouble. The Chief moved heaven and earth to keep him out of prison and on the roster.
Clearly, that was all the Chief's fault...
Originally Posted by RobinCole
Richardson was arrested...but the charges were dropped...it would seem that he has kept his nose clean since then...
Originally Posted by Shawn
Bryant drew physical comparisons to Chris Henry, but was a vastly different player off the field...
Another guy who, by at least one account, has turned it around:
I wouldn't put this guy in a category of being troubled at all. He was arrested on suspicion of theft. And then the charges were dropped. I live in the heart of SEC land and this kid wouldn't have be released by most of the teams. They would have waited and then he would have been good to go when the charges were dropped. Total non-story. And he was smart enough to learn his lesson to not even put himself in a possible bad position all his years at AZ. Hopefully they found a late draft gem and Coach Lake can get him prepared to be a productive CB.
Slapstick: I don't know what you mean by "that was the Chief's fault". Just to make it clear, I'm not at all criticizing him for saving Ernie Holmes. To this day I wonder how he was able to pull it off. Must have cashed in some IOUs at the "favor bank". And pointing out that, despite the myth, we did have some "troubled" players back in the day, and the organization stuck with them until things got completely unmanageable.
No, it was a reference to another poster blaming LeBeau for Keenan Lewis' Denver freakout where he broke the glass in the locker room...
Originally Posted by RobinCole
It was a throwaway comment not directed to you at all...
Let's not be naive: If he was innocent, they would've fleshed it out and he would've stayed a UCLA Bruin. He stole it, he got caught, and because he did some manuevering and/or insufficient proof--he got off. It is a pretty despicable thing to do (steal), but it is what is is... hopefully he's not the same sort of guy anymore.
Originally Posted by Ghost