Steelers Select Shaquille Richardson in the Fifth Round

SHAQUILLE RICHARDSONCornerbackUniversity of Arizona Wildcats6-0, 194Carson, CaliforniaLos Alamitos High School5th Round – 157th Overall

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Photos of Fifth-Round Draft Pick cornerback Shaquille Richardson from Arizona.

Started 37 of 49 games played … Registered 189 tackles (142 unassisted), eight tackles for loss, 10 interceptions, 131 interception return yards, 30 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Played in and started all 13 games at cornerback ... Totaled 55 tackles, including three for loss ... Picked off three passes for 34 return yards ... part of two interceptions in Arizona's upset win over No. 5 Oregon.

Played in 13 games and started 11 at cornerback … Led the team in passes broken up with 14, ranking No. 16 nationally … Also had 58 total tackles, 37 solo and 21 assisted, to go with one forced fumble and one fumble recovery … Had an interception for 24 return yards in the win against Nevada.

Played in and started 10 games with the secondary … Team-high four interceptions (73 yards) and 47 tackles, plus broke up five other passes and forced a fumble … Career-high nine tackles at Oklahoma State … Two interceptions in the Oregon State game, one taken back 28 yards for a score earned him College Football Performance Awards Honorable Mention Defensive Back of the Week.

Played in 13 games and started three as a true freshman … Debut start in the game at Washington State and came away with two interceptions, season-high seven tackles and career-best three PBU to earn Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors and a national nod as the Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week … Had five hits at Oregon along with a PBU … Finished with 29 tackles, seven PBU, forced fumble (UCLA), fumble recovery (UT) and two picks.

Rated as the No. 26 cornerback nationally by Scout.com ... Ranked as the No. 30 cornerback by Rivals.com ... Rated as the No. 51 player in CA/HI/NV region by SuperPrep ... Rated as the No. 47 player in California by Scout.com and No. 52 by Rivals.com ... Rated as the No. 71 cornerback nationally by ESPN.com ... Rated as the No. 66 player in the West by Scout.com … Member of Tacoma News Tribune Western 100 ... Earned three stars from Rivals.com and Scout.com ... PrepStar All-Region selection ... As a senior, made 38 tackles and five interceptions on defense and 31 receptions for 540 yards and five touchdowns on offense.

Majored in psychology.

Defensive Backs Coach Carnell Lake on Richardson

Carnell Lake:We are really excited to draft Shaquille Richardson from Arizona in the fifth round. He's a really tough competitor. At six-feet tall he's a good size and is aggressive with bump and run coverage. He does a good job tackling. He's a smart, young corner that can come in and contribute. He gives us a good size out there and somebody that has the ability to put a lot of pressure on tall receivers that have been drafted lately in the last few years.

Did you think you would wait this long for a corner back?

It's only five picks for us, and I'm happy that I have one. I cannot complain. I think we got a good one.

Can he play inside slot?

Shaquille has been pretty versatile for his college, Arizona. He has played corner. He has played some safety just because he is a bigger defensive back with ball skills that can tackle in the open field. I definitely think he could do it. Will he be required to do it on this team – probably not. He is versatile enough to do it.

How do you feel about CB depth?

Yeah, fortunate that we've had some players that we picked up as free agents. Antoine Blake is one, very fast, quick, aggressive corner that I liked coming out of last year. 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've 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. So for guys that we've picked up in free agency that may have been overlooked in the past, I'm pretty excited about. I think we've had the ability to plug and play some of these players that we've picked up. Along with Shaquille Richardson being a taller defensive back, I think that is going to be good for what we end up seeing in the AFC. Players like Watkins going to the Bills and so forth.

Re: Troy isn't going to have to play LB this year:

I hope he doesn't have to play as much linebacker as he did last year. We had to plug Troy in last year at the dime back and he did an outstanding job. This first round linebacker, Shazier, might be one of the fastest guys on the field for us defensively. He is going to be an impact player from day one in my opinion. I'm really happy we got him.

Do you think Shaquille adds size to your CBs?

I think at this point, as you can see, there was a big run on corners this year. Five corners went this year in the first round. With the size of the receivers that are coming out, it's just a different game a little bit. Obviously coverage is first and size is second. If you can get them both, it's rare. I think Shaq, especially for the fifth round, has that ability. He has some height, he has some size to him, and he has some coverage ability. Little background on Shaq, he was a young high school player coming out of Los Angeles, and when I was at UCLA I recruited him. It just so happens that we drafted him. He was overlooked in high school. He didn't have a lot of offers. Actually, he didn't have any offers. We looked at him on tape. He was at one of the camps as a kid, 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 at camp and if he can, we should offer him a scholarship. He came in and he was the best cover guy we had. We offered him a scholarship that day. Unfortunately, I didn't get to coach him because I left. He transferred to Arizona, and here he is today. It's just a coincidence, but it's a small world I guess.

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Did you bring Shaquille in for a pre-draft visit?

We did, we hosted him for a visit just so we could get a better feel for him. We had quite a few corners in this year so we had a chance to compare and contrast. He was instantly likeable when we brought him in. He's a likeable young man.

Did your history with Shaquille play a role in drafting him?

We were all catching up. I knew him, but it's obviously important for the organization to get to know him. There are a lot of things that are beneficial to coming in and getting a chance to talk to a player. You get to know them more in-depth after spending several hours with them.

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Do you see some similarities in your play and Shazier's play?

Absolutely, we hosted some of Shazier's teammates including the corner that was drafted in the first round and asked if Shazier could play safety. So that is exactly what I was thinking is that this guy is big and fast and aggressive. There is no reason why he couldn't play safety. If for some reason Keith Butler, our linebackers coach doesn't like him, I'll take him.

Could you convert him to cornerback?

Running a 4.3, we'd give him a shot out there.

Is Shaq's speed legit and how important does speed play in you defense?

I put a premium on speed. I think that if you're not struggling with speed you can do a lot of things. You can make a lot of mistakes, especially younger, and be able to get right back in and get close to receivers in coverage. Obviously you don't need to be a 4.3 to be a great cover corner. There are a lot of corners out there that are not running a 4.3, but it gives you an added edge. Ike Taylor has played in the league a long time. Cortez Allen is growing in our scheme and they're not 4.3 guys. Ike was close when he came out. I think he has been able to benefit from his speed throughout the years. I think early on being a faster corner [helps] and playing a long time you can slow up a step or two and still be able to cover. These days with the kind of receivers that we are seeing, big fast receivers, having speed is a good thing. Shaq is probably 4.5ish. I think that is fast enough especially if he is a good technician.

Cornerback Shaquille Richardson Conference Call - Transcript

What are your memories of Carnell Lake recruiting you at UCLA?

I remember Coach Lake as being a great person first and foremost, and someone I could really look up to as a football player and I'm so happy to be back under him, learn from him and be a Pittsburgh Steeler. It's crazy.

Was part of the reason you transferred from UCLA because Coach Lake left?

Actually that was one of the reasons I was considering transferring, but I eventually decided to stay after that.

Did you have a good idea that the Steelers were interested in you because of your connection with Coach Lake and your facility visit?

Yeah, I had feeling they were interested, but with the whole process it's crazy. You really don't know what's going (on) in the draft. It's just a crazy thing. I just didn't really know, but I did get a good vibe from Coach Lake when I was there.

How aware are you of the cornerback position in Pittsburgh with the veteran players and possible open positions?

I'm definitely aware, but I'm definitely coming in to learn from Ike Taylor and other veterans (and) defensive backs they have on the team. I'm just ready to work. I got a lot to prove and I'm ready to work.

How do you feel about playing with your former teammate Robert Golden?

That's great. He texted me and I texted him back. He said he's going to take care of me and all that stuff so I'm really happy about that too. I have some comfort.

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