Nov 23, 2013; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats cornerback Shaquille Richardson (5) in between plays during the third quarter against the Oregon Ducks at Arizona Stadium. Arizona beat Oregon 42-16. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Pick CB Shaquille Richardson’s Past Brings Comfort

Oh yes, you can almost here Peaches and Herb right now with their iconic song “Reunited and It Feels So Good.”

The PPG, shortly after the pick on Saturday, pointed to something unique about the Pittsburgh Steelers 5th Round and 157th overall draft selection, Shaquille Richardson.  This corner out of Arizona is about to have a reunion with a former coach he had while in his freshman season at UCLA.  Secondary coach Carnell Lake gave Richardson his ‘first shot’ at collegiate football by having him tryout and then offering him a scholarship that very afternoon.

He was overlooked in high school.  He didn’t have any offers. We looked at him on tape. He was at one of the camps, 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 in camp, and if he can, we should offer him a scholarship.’ He came in and was the best cover guy we had. We offered him a scholarship that day.     – Carnell Lake

I have much respect for the former Steeler safety now turned coach.  His stint out at UCLA did not last long, but Lake has already had a positive impact with the Steelers secondary, especially the young guys like Cortez Allen.  Lake obviously sees something in this kid out of Arizona that has stuck with him since he first handed him a scholarship five years ago.  That says quite a bit about the rookie 6-footer, and I expect to see good things from him early on – so long as he’s not destined to rot on the bench like so many others under Dick LeBeau.

Like so many of us in Steeler Nation, I would have preferred to see the team take a corner much earlier in the draft.  But, if Richardson can play man to man coverage as well as Lake says he can, then we will bear witness to the sunset ride of Ike Taylor and the new beginning with Shaquille.  His size, athleticism, and ability to stick with his man will be perfect in lining opposite to the taller receivers that are becoming so common in the league.

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    Do some research into why Richardson went to U of A in the first place. In fact, look up why he left UCLA to go there too. Then watch his sub-par and inconsistent play against Pac-12 foes and you’ll be about as excited that he is on the roster as I am: Not very.

    They’d have been better off handing in a blank card instead of actually wasting a draft pick on him.

    • Craig

      Dom, I know why he went to U of A in the first place. Thanks. You obviously have more to offer in the way of looking at these guys in the west. I’m going to go out on a limb and trust that Lake had a hand in vetting this guy and pushing to draft him. Go ahead and skewer in your ‘negative nancy’ all you want. But you already sound ridiculous enough by suggesting that the pick was so bad that they should have not picked anyone.

      • SDAZT.STEEL66

        From a talent standpoint, Richardson was a UDFA, and there were way more talented corners (Exum, Gaines, Acker) left on the board at that point IMO. Shoot, if they wanted a cornerback w/character problems, they should have rolled the dice on Purifoy or Roberson.

        I guess I won’t be shocked when he is usurped on the depth chart by some of the backups from last year (Green, Smith, Blake, etc.) this fall though. I hope Lake’s right, but I saw nothing, skill-set wise from what I watched during his four years in Tucson, which would distinguish Richardson as a draft-able player besides his height.