FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — While nearly all of the media attention has been on Geno Smith at New York Jets rookie camp, Sheldon Richardson has impressed his coaches with some solid practices.
Richardson was a first-round draft pick two weeks ago — unlike Smith, who was a second-rounder. But the big defensive lineman out of Missouri wasn’t even the Jets’ first pick. That was cornerback Dee Milliner, who was taken No. 9 overall — four spots ahead of Richardson.
Richardson could compete with Kenrick Ellis, the team’s third-round pick in 2011, to be the Jets’ starting nose tackle after the team released veteran Sione Po’uha.
“I was always the chubby kid in class that everybody picked on,” Richardson said. “I was, and I played with a chip on my shoulder. I still feel like I’m the same kid. I like to do what skinny guys do. (If they) dunk a basketball, I want to jump as high as (them) and dunk a basketball.
“I happen to be able to dunk a basketball because of it. I have fun. I’m a kid out there.”
Milliner hasn’t practiced, and probably won’t fully participate until training camp in July as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. But Rex Ryan certainly likes what he has seen from Richardson, saying he has “popped out” on the field. Good start for the 6-foot-3, 295-pound lineman who stunningly once returned kicks in high school.
“On defense, it’s pretty obvious who popped out there,” said Ryan. “I mean, Sheldon Richardson was good. I don’t want to put expectations too high, but, yeah, he was impressive to say the least.”
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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)