Seattle Seahawks 90-Man Roundup: Devin Richardson Aiming For Spot in New-Look LB Room

Following one season at Washington State, Devin Richardson may be playing the right position to give himself a realistic shot at playing onto the Seahawks roster.
Nov 11, 2023; Berkeley, California, USA; California Golden Bears running back Jaydn Ott (1) carries the ball against Washington State Cougars linebacker Devin Richardson (8) during the fourth quarter at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 11, 2023; Berkeley, California, USA; California Golden Bears running back Jaydn Ott (1) carries the ball against Washington State Cougars linebacker Devin Richardson (8) during the fourth quarter at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports / Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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With OTAs now opening across the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks will open training camp at the VMAC in a little over two months, officially ushering in the first season under new coach Mike Macdonald.

In preparation for the new incoming season, we'll be detailing every member of the Seahawks 90-man roster over the next several weeks, diving into scheme fits, exploring best and worst case scenarios, and predicting what to expect from each player entering the 2024 campaign.

A late addition to the roster after participating in Seattle's rookie minicamp, can former Washington State standout Devin Richardson stick around in a wide-open linebacker competition?

Background

Well-traveled during a lengthy college career at three schools, Richardson originally started off at New Mexico State, breaking out as a redshirt freshman in 2019 with 69 tackles and three forced fumbles. After a COVID-shortened 2020 season, he transferred to Texas, where he struggled to earn playing time on defense in two years with the program before bolting again as a graduate transfer to Washington State. In his lone season with the Cougars, he produced 62 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble, eventually earning an invite to Seahawks rookie minicamp and signing to the 90-man roster a week later.

Scheme Fit

At 6-2, 229 pounds, Richardson lacks prototypical size for an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, but he has the speed and change of direction skills to produce as an off-ball linebacker, the position he played the majority of his college snaps. In six seasons with three programs, according to Pro Football Focus, he logged 1,133 snaps in the box, which equated to 77 percent of his defensive playing time. In addition, he played more snaps in the slot in coverage (138) than as an edge defender off tackle (96), further demonstrating his best fit being an off-ball defender.

Best Case Scenario

After gaining valuable experience on kick and punt coverage units in his lone season in Pullman, Richardson shines on special teams during training camp and the preseason, taking advantage of thin depth at linebacker to earn an unexpected roster spot for Week 1.

Worst Case Scenario

Following a college career where he only played as a full-time starter twice in six seasons, Richardson looks over his head early and loses reps to fellow undrafted rookies Easton Gibbs and Rason Williams II, leading to him being waived before the start of training camp.

What to Expect in 2024

Taking the difficult road to the NFL as a tryout player-turned-free agent signee, Richardson will have to prove himself on special teams to have a fighting chance of lasting throughout training camp and the preseason. But he has the tools, particularly elite change of direction skills for a linebacker, coupled with a nose for the football to be successful on kick and punt return. With major depth questions at linebacker, if he can rack up tackles in the third phase of the game in the preseason, he could vault up the depth chart quickly.

But even after losing Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks, and Devin Bush in free agency, Richardson's chances of making the roster seem slim to none. Aside from having established veterans Tyrel Dodson and Jerome Baker in front of him, Seattle invested a fourth-round pick in Tyrice Knight and brought back special teams ace Jon Rhattigan as well as intriguing second-year players Drake Thomas and Patrick O'Connell. He faces an uphill battle from the start that likely will be too much to overcome as a late undrafted addition.

Previous 90-Man Roundups

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Corbin K. Smith

CORBIN K. SMITH

Graduating from Manchester College in 2012, Smith began his professional career as a high school Economics teacher in Indianapolis and launched his own NFL website covering the Seahawks as a hobby. After teaching and coaching high school football for five years, he transitioned to a full-time sports reporter in 2017, writing for USA Today's Seahawks Wire while continuing to produce the Legion of 12 podcast. He joined the Arena Group in August 2018 and also currently hosts the daily Locked On Seahawks podcast with Rob Rang and Nick Lee. Away from his coverage of the Seahawks and the NFL, Smith dabbles in standup comedy, is a heavy metal enthusiast and previously performed as lead vocalist for a metal band, and enjoys distance running and weight lifting. A habitual commuter, he resides with his wife Natalia in Colorado and spends extensive time reporting from his second residence in the Pacific Northwest.