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Thu., Jul. 30, 2015 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM PDT
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A Closer Look: Nick Richmond
SAN DIEGO – For all the tests, measurements and dollars invested by the NFL in scouting, there’s still a way to measure potential that dates back to cavemen.
It’s called the eye test, unofficially, and it revolves around one question: Does he look like a football player?
For undrafted offensive tackle Nick Richmond, the answer is yes.
The behemoth out of TCU stands 6-foot-8, 309 pounds. He could fish something out of the trunk of a car from the driver’s seat. He’d be one of the world’s best at the game where you tap someone on the opposite shoulder and try to pretend it wasn’t you. Or perhaps he could use his long arms to redirect a speedy defensive end gunning for Philip Rivers.
His body, too, looks athletic and lean.
That’s all he needed at South Garland High School in Garland, Texas. It was enough to make him a part-time starter in the Mountain West Conference, where he filled both tackle spots on occasion.
But it won’t be enough to make the NFL.
“It really is about technique,” Richmond said. “You don’t have to have perfect leverage every time in college. Out here it’s always a mental rep. You’ve got to be your lowest yet most comfortable position every time. That’s the biggest thing as a tall guy. My leverage has to be on par with somebody that’s 6-1.
“In college we had light guys, maybe 220, 230 on the defensive line. I just threw them around like whatever.”
That’s not the case for many players in the NFL, much less someone that didn’t get called on draft day. And it takes a lot more than brawn that would make the Michelin Man jealous.
Just ask second-year player Brandyn Dombrowski, who transitioned from guard to tackle during the season last year when Jeromey Clary injured his foot.
“It’s all about technique. (Size) doesn’t mean anything,” Dombrowski said. “You can be enormous and get trampled on out there.”
Richmond may resemble a giant, but evidence says he can be docile. Known as “Nic” in the media at TCU, he never felt the need to correct the misspelling. But that doesn’t mean he’s always passive.
Richmond claims he was fast as a 6-foot seventh grader, but entered high school at 6-foot-4, 300 pounds.
“Once the weight snapped on me I slowed down,” he said. “I was like, ‘Man, I need to do some more exercise!’ I wasn’t doing all that well. I wasn’t all that active.”
He played football, of course, but earned a varsity letter in tennis as well. And he threw 178 feet, 6 inches in the discus and took third overall at the 5A State Championships in Texas, known as a track hotbed.
“Track was always good as a sideline thing, but football, man, it’s a different ballgame,” he said. “You’ve got to have a whole team that meshes together. You’ve got to victory as a team.”
He finished eighth overall at the MWC Outdoor Championships for TCU last May, a transformation from the pudgy body he dragged with him to high school.
Now that his body’s a commodity, he needs to make another change: refine his technique to compete at the NFL level.