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Sheldon Richardson among hot names in NFL Draft talk

Sheldon Richardson could shoot up draft boards, as NFL teams begin the pre-draft process in advance of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE

Missouri Tigers defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is quickly shooting up draft boards -- or at least, the draft boards of NFL draftniks.

ESPN's Kevin Weidl discussed defensive linemen who he believes will shoot up draft boards come April -- and he believes Richardson will be one of those players.

I saw Richardson in person when the Tigers played at South Carolina and it was one of the better performances I saw all season. He has impressive quickness and agility for a 6-2⅞, 290-pounder, along with quick hands and a nonstop motor.

Richardson continued to play hard all season even as his team struggled, continuing to produce and disrupt along the interior. His closing burst, lateral movements and overall athleticism are solid, and he should test well during workouts. Richardson will likely challenge other highly rated defensive tackles for first-round positioning.

Richardson registered 75 tackles for Missouri in 2012, as the Tigers moved from the Big 12 to the SEC. Ten and a half of those tackles were for loss, and Richardson recorded four sacks as well. Additionally, Richardson forced three fumbles and blocked a kick.

For all intents and purposes, Richardson was a force on Missouri's defensive line.

With the NFL becoming such a pass-heavy league, having defensive linemen who are agile and can rush the passer is an increasing necessity for success. Richardson, with a high motor and plus agility, make him poised to succeed in the NFL.

There's still plenty of time between now and the NFL Draft, but it looks like Missouri could very well boast at least one first-round selection.