In a past life (actually, three years ago), yours truly had the chance to cover Tennessee football for a college football blog.
During that time covering Volunteer football, one of the people I had a chance to come into contact with Antonio Richardson, regarded as the #1 prep prospect in the state of Tennessee. A native of Nashville, Richardson committed to Tennessee on February 2, 2011, making him the crown jewel in then-UT coach Derek Dooley's first class.
In Richardson's three years at UT, two of which he started, he earned All-SEC honors in back-to-back years (2012 & 2013) as well as a place on the Outland Trophy watch list in 2013.
During the 2012 season at Tennessee, Richardson was part of an offensive line that allowed only eight QB sacks in 450 passing attempts.The following year, Richardson anchored an offensive line that aided a school record 2,261 rushing yards.
Why I'm Sold on Him: Richardson held his ground against one of the best defensive players in the country during the 2012 season in Jadevon Clowney when the Volunteers traveled to Columbia to face the Gamecocks. In that game, Richardson was lauded for his play against Clowney, only allowing one sack in the 38-35 loss.
In the December 15th game against the Rams, Robert Quinn bullied the Saints' offensive line, namely Charles Brown.
That being said, with an emerging Armstead on the left side of the offensive line, Richardson could very well shift over to the right side if he's drafted by the Saints, meaning that he'll be assigned against the likes of Quinn and Patrick Willis.
More importantly, Richardson possesses excellent footwork and a strong ability to snuff out edge blockers and pass rush moves.
Concerns: While there's no issues with Richardson's mental toughness or his natural abilities (read: he's no Jonathan Martin), his biggest problem is being slow to the ball, something that was evident in 2012 against the Gators.
Along with that ,Richardson needs to work on being more coordinated in his cut blocking. And while all those things are fixable issues to the causal observers, scouts will look at those things as red flags.