As hard as draft experts work to slot pro football prospects into a round, or a range of rounds, in which they'll be selected in the NFL draft, some aren't so easily projected. Baylor offensive guard Cyril Richardson might be a dangerous one to pigeonhole.
The senior was one of the most decorated offensive linemen in the college game last year, having been named first-team All-America by the AP, Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year, and a finalist for the Outland Trophy as the nation's top lineman. None of that guarantees NFL success, however, and Houston Sports Talk 790 host Lance Zierlein reports via Twitter that NFL offensive line coaches can't make up their minds.
Citing "substantially different opinions," Zierlein has heard anything from Round 1 to Round 6 on the massive, 329-pound guard.
In other words, anything could happen.
Richardson's scouting report on NFL.com suggests something in the middle -- Rounds 3 to 4 -- but notes that the "bust factor cannot be ignored."
Richardson competed at the Senior Bowl, but did not rank among the top six North squad offensive linemen for his performance there. His less-than-stellar grade of 5.42 translates to an NFL backup. As a group, interior linemen don't tend to draw a premium demand on draft day, so that will work against Richardson, as well.
It's the game film from Baylor where opinions of Richardson will be at their highest, and fortunately for him, that's ultimately what drives evaluations most.