#Patriots are trading safety Jordan Richards to the Falcons, according to a league source.
— Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) August 31, 2018
Jordan Richards Traded to Atlanta Falcons
The Patriots will receive a conditional seventh-round 2020 NFL Draft pick from the Falcons in return for Richards.
Richards was drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, making him the fourth safety taken in that year’s draft. The pick was widely panned, given the Patriots already had Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung. Richards had also been graded as a fifth to seventh-round pick headed into that draft.
Richards’ early role consisted primarily of special teams contributions, but he appeared as a starter in several games when an ankle injury sidelined McCourty. In his rookie year, the safety saw 51 percent of special teams snaps and only 22 percent of defensive snaps. In those defensive snaps, Richards collected 16 solo tackles and two passes defended.
In 2016, Richards regressed significantly, partially due to a knee injury in late November that took him out of three games. He took no defensive snaps in 2016, relegated solely to the special teams unit.
When injuries riddled the Patriots defensive squad in 2017, Richards was forced into starting as a hybrid outside linebacker. In this role, he outpaced his previous season tackle totals but remained a specialist rotational player for the majority of the season.
Richards’ lack of second-round talent was evident in Super Bowl LII. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles targeted Richards three times during the Eagles win, completing all three passes for 81 yards. It was Richards’ missed tackle that allowed Corey Clement to score on a 55-yard play, the longest of the game.
Embed from Getty Images