JACKSONVILLE – The move for up-front size came on Day 3.
Seeking to further solidify and deepen an already strong position, the Jaguars early Saturday afternoon selected an offensive lineman in Round 4 of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The selection: Will Richardson, a 2017 second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference right tackle for North Carolina State who twice missed games in college with suspensions.
“There’s no other feeling;” Richardson said moments after being selected him No. 129 overall. “People told me it was going to be like this, but there’s no better feeling in the world.”
Richardson (6-feet-6, 306 pounds), a redshirt junior, missed one game as a redshirt freshman in 2015 after a reported driving-under-the-influence arrest. He missed two games at the start of the 2017 season for what he later said was a marijuana offense.
“We spent some time with him,” Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said shortly after the selection. “We’ve spent a lot of time with him here and at the school we have some good connections. We felt like a lot of it was behind him. He made some bad mistakes and I think he has owned up to them. We feel like he’s got a lot to prove.”
Caldwell said the issues didn’t push him down the Jaguars’ draft board.
“To be honest with you … we had him a little bit higher,” he said. “We felt like there was greater value at the positions we took, plus some needs there. This was a value pick, but also one that turned out for us, too.”
Caldwell added of Richardson, “The one thing about this player is he loves football. I think he realized that it could be taken away from him quite quickly – same at this level. He has to do the right things to have the right to play and we’re going to hold him to it.”
Richardson on Saturday addressed the off-field issues.
“I honestly just prayed to God,” he said of concerns over whether he would slip in the draft. “He knows what I’ve done in the past. He knows what I do now. He knows I’m a changed person.
“Of course it was on my mind: I’m falling, falling and falling and my off-field issues in the past are the reason it happened. That’s even more of an urge for me to show people I’m not the person they think I am – and just to stay focused and stay on track in football and everything else in my life….
“It was there and I knew I’d have to face it,” he added. “It’s way past me now.”
Caldwell said the Jaguars liked Richardson’s flexibility, adding that in addition to right tackle he could play left tackle or guard. Caldwell added that Richardson could be the team’s swing tackle, backing up left tackle Cam Robinson and right tackle Jermey Parnell.
“He’s pretty versatile,” Caldwell said. “He can really anchor against pass rush. You see what he’s done in the ACC. I don’t think he has given up a sack, or even a pressure, this year. He was highly-productive in pass protection.”
Richardson visited the Jaguars in Jacksonville before the draft.
“I really felt like they got to know me as a person,” he said. “I felt like it was a family atmosphere down there. I feel like all the coaches were close with each other. … Jacksonville felt like somewhere I felt like I could be.”