Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
The Los Angeles Rams added former Oklahoma State defensive back Ramon Richards to their roster. Named as a Big-12 Honorable Mentioned as a defensive back, he brings experience as a three-year starter.
Richards played in a total of 45 games, where he registered 183 tackles (10.5 for loss), ten interceptions (returned two for touchdowns), 23 pass deflections, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery for a touchdown. Growing up in the home state of Wade Phillips, the Rams defensive coordinator the second-year coach knows his Texas talent. Richards converted to safety his senior season; his versatility contributes added depth and flexibility to Ram's defensive backfield. With Richards joining the Rams, the teams are getting a good football player who can play all over the field but has imperfections in his game.
The downfall to his talent, he's a smaller player with sub-par speed. However, he does demonstrate quickness to the ball, read offenses effectively, and diagnosis routes of the receivers. Despite his small stature, he's a fierce hitter who closes into the ball with the ability to lunge and quickly deflects passes.
With a high football IQ, he can play opposite of the slot receivers and make solid plays with solid skills. Ten career interceptions and with two returned for touchdowns, displays his play-making abilities. The Rams defensive rosters are deep with defensive back talent, this past offseason, the Rams added veteran and pro-bowl corners Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. Also to include, the Rams added veteran defensive Sam Shields, resigned Troy Hill and Nikel Robey-Coleman. Richards also will have to battle against another former Oklahoma State Cowboy and second-year player Kevin Peterson.
Peterson is widely known for his excellent play last season when injuries loomed the Rams defensive backfield. In the Rams 2016 final home game, Peterson picked off San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo twice in the game. Despite a meaningful game where 90 percent of Rams starters didn't play, but the 49ers moved the ball down the field effectively.
Over the past few seasons, the success of undrafted defensive backs earning spots on the Rams final 53-man roster have raised. Richards has the talent but will have to fight hard to impress defensive back coach Aubrey Pleasant and Ejiro Evero.
Last season, Hatfield, Isaiah Johnson, and Kevin Peterson all made the Rams team, with Peterson and Hatfield both making the final 53-man roster. Johnson was cut but signed to the practice squad, and later called up to the team active roster after former starter Kavon Webster lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles injury.
Shall Richards performs well with pre-season play, and he has the opportunity to continue to the legacy of undrafted defensive backs making the active roster. If he's not so fortunate of making the 53-man roster, he will be a great candidate for the practice squad.