In most cases, a team's first-round pick finds it nearly impossible to escape the media spotlight during his inaugural training camp. When that first-rounder is 6'3", 294, it makes things even tougher to avoid attention. With fellow rookies Dee Milliner and Geno Smith hogging most of the headlines, however, DT Sheldon Richardson has managed to fly relatively under the radar.
"That's good," the 13th overall pick said. "I mean, hopefully they sleep on me the rest of the season and I'll surprise them toward the end of the season, so it's good for me. I don't mind it. They're worried about Dee and Geno right now so I'm just getting my reps in."
After sitting out the last two days following a "painful" root canal, Sheldon returned to action this morning for the first day of bring-the-ball-carrier-to-the-ground practice.
Entering his second week of training camp, Richardson has been pleased with how things have been going for him physically, but he says he has had a handful of rookie mistakes along the way.
"Bullets are flying out there. The offense is going pretty fast," he said. "They're subbing in guys late, so you've got to think through your plays and stuff like that."
None of the mental lapses have been too serious, but they are still things that he knows must be fixed. On one play, for instance, he lined up at the left defensive tackle position before scrambling over to the right side of the D-line on a teammate's orders.
On another, he dropped into coverage on a zone blitz and clapped his hands in frustration after the receiver caught the ball a couple of yards away from him. "I opened my hips up the wrong way," he explained. "Small, small, small things, that's all."
There's nothing that a few extra reps can't solve, though, he said.
The defense beat the offense in goal line drills, according to head coach Rex Ryan, thanks in large part to Sheldon Richardson and his fellow D-linemen. Richardson said that as part of the defensive front, he couldn't allow the running backs to push their way past the line of scrimmage.
"That's a long film session if you allow that," he said.
As Sheldon Richardson's physical prowess continues to clog up the holes and stuff the ballcarrier at the line, people will take notice. If he's suddenly at the forefront of peoples' radars, could that mean a little bit of added pressure?
"I've never had pressure," he said, "I've been playing football all my life. It doesn't change because I'm in the green and white."