The 2023 NFL Draft class is deep and talented on both sides of the ball, including the offensive line, where North Carolina G Asim Richards is a name to watch as a potential mid-round value.
While most of the conversation has been focused on the top names in the class, what does Richards’ scouting report suggest about his NFL draft stock?
Asim Richards NFL Draft Profile
Like many players to play in either college or the NFL, North Carolina Tar Heels offensive lineman Asim Richards was a multi-sport athlete in high school, playing both football and basketball. A three-star recruit, Richards appeared in nine games on the offensive line as a true freshman.
Having played offensive line, tight end, and defensive tackle throughout his career, Richards found a home on the OL and started in 28 of his 29 games between 2020 and 2022, including all 17 of his appearances across in his junior and senior seasons.
In 2022, Richards received third-team All-ACC honors after playing on nearly 1,050 snaps at left tackle and allowing only three sacks, helping the Tar Heels’ offense finish second in the conference in passing yards per game and total yards per game and third in points per game.
While he measured a touch shorter at the NFL Combine than some expected at 6’4″ and 309 pounds, Richards’ 34-inch arms and 10-inch hands help answer any questions about his size.
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A Senior Bowl participant, Richards was the lone offensive lineman who worked out during the Tar Heels’ Pro Day after not testing at the NFL Combine. According to PFN NFL Draft Analyst Tony Pauline, the Baltimore Ravens’ and Buffalo Bills’ head offensive line coaches were on site. Additionally, the Tennessee Titans’ head Director of Football Operations, John Streicher, was present as well
“Senior Bowl participant Asim Richards timed between 5.12 to 5.18 seconds in the 40, then later ran an admirable 7.77-second three-cone and 4.81-second short shuttle at the end of the workout. Richards measured 6’4 1/2″ at the Combine. Teams like his versatility to line up just about everywhere on the offensive line. Richards even did a little bit of snapping at center today,” Pauline explained.
Richards has over 2,500 snaps of experience as a three-year starter and possesses a bit of a nasty streak, but what does our scouting report suggest about his strengths and areas for improvement heading into the 2023 NFL Draft?
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Asim Richards
Strengths: Three-year starter at left tackle who projects to guard in the NFL. Bends his knees, blocks with leverage, and stays square. Keeps his feet moving, shows ability sliding off the edge, and anchors in pass protection.
Makes good use of angles, adjusts, and displays an ability to shut down speed rushers. Patient, keeps his head on a swivel, and picks up assignments. Strong run blocker who turns defenders off the line. Possesses long arms and big hands.
Weaknesses: Lacks left tackle height. Not quick pulling across the line of scrimmage. Minimally effective blocking on the second level.
Overall: Richards was a terrific pass-blocking LT for North Carolina and is a nice-sized lineman with growth potential. He may not possess the athleticism necessary to be used in a zone-blocking system, yet the ability to turn defenders off the line run blocking and anchor in pass protection will get him several looks from a power-gap offense.
Asim Richards Combine Measurements and Results
- Height: 6’4″
- Weight: 309
- Arm Length: 34″
- Hand Size: 10″
- Bench Press: DNP
North Carolina G Asim Richards Current Draft Projection
The 2023 NFL draft has a great prospect class if you need help on the offensive line, specifically at guard and tackle. While the likes of Peter Skoronski and Paris Johnson Jr. dominate the headlines, there is undoubtedly plenty of value in the middle rounds.
With most of the focus on the higher-ranked prospects, Richards could be a name to keep an eye on toward the end of Day 2 and the beginning of Day 3. Currently, Richards is the ninth-ranked guard on Tony Pauline’s Big Board and is the No. 140-ranked player with a grade of 3.48, placing his draft projection around the beginning of the fifth round.
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Given questions about his size compared to norms at the position, Richards could project more as a guard, which is where Pauline has him currently, rather than offensive tackle, where he spent his time playing at North Carolina.
There’s a case to be made that this could work out in his favor, as Richards could gain some positional versatility, which is a significant value for mid-round players, who are primarily tasked with adding depth to a roster. Whether or not this turns out to be the case for Richards is something we will have to wait to see when his name is called during the 2023 NFL Draft.