ASHBURN, Va. — The comparisons between Paul Richardson and DeSean Jackson began immediately at the introduction of the newest Washington Redskins receiver on Thursday. Both are known for their high-end speed — Richardson ran a 4.40 40-yard dash at the combine Both have a slight build — Richardson stands 6-foot, 175 pounds and isn’t physically imposing in street clothes. Both have a confident, yet laid-back Los Angeles swag to their demeanor.
Richardson, who signed a five-year contract worth $40 million with $20 million guaranteed, doesn’t mind the comparison.
“I feel like us both being from California, both being from L.A., and us being speed guys, there’s going to be a lot of comparisons and I think he’s a great receiver,” Richardson said. “I look up to him a lot, especially how he sets guys up in his routes. I think that I have a lot of the same qualities.
“I think that I do add the ‘going up and get it’ aspect. I like going up against defenders and turning 50-50 balls into 100 percent of the time. So, that’s the other element I will bring.”
Redskins fans should welcome the comparison, too, considering Jackson was the one of the last two players — along with current 49er Pierre Garcon — to reach 1,000 yards receiving wearing burgundy and gold. He had 56 catches for 1,005 yards in 2016, his last with the Redskins. He also posted 1,169 yards on 56 receptions in 2014, his first season with the team. That 2014 mark ranks as the 15th-best single-season output in Redskins history.
Richardson and Jackson are friends, and the soon-to-be 26-year-old said the veteran recommended Washington as a destination. The comparisons in style seem to fit considering Richardson admits to studying Jackson’s game. Another of Richardson’s connections to the team is Garcon, as the two receivers share an agent and Richardson says he picks the brain of the veteran.
Richardson now needs to match the production after having a career year in 2017 with 44 catches for 703 yards and six touchdowns.
“For a decade, DeSean, he sets people up so great with his double moves downfield,” Richardson said. “He has a great ball-tracking ability over his shoulder. All parts of my game that I’ve been working on that I can’t wait to be able to show. And I really took that from DeSean and what I took from Pierre, even. Just how aggressive he is, how much attitude he plays with, how much confidence he plays with.
“Both of them play with a lot of confidence, so just being able to take parts of their game, being able to ask Pierre questions and him being able to help me, I think things are going to pan out great.”
There is one difference that will be interesting to watch as Richardson’s career develops in Jay Gruden’s offense. The head coach said he’s eager to line his new weapon up in various spots across the field, and Richardson specifically mentioned running crossing routes over the middle. That was never Jackson’s game. That’s the danger zone for receivers, where safeties and linebackers can get take unimpeded shots on pass catchers looking back for the ball.
Richardson doesn’t seem concerned.
“They’ve got to catch me,” Richardson said with a laugh. “I’m not big on trash talk and all that stuff, but you’ve got to catch me.”