By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It is the end of an era for one of the most disappointing draft picks of the Bill Belichick era.
Safety and special teamer Jordan Richards has been traded to the Atlanta Falcons.
In return for Richards, the Patriots will receive a conditional seventh-round pick … in 2020.
The Patriots reached in the 2015 draft to select Richards in the second round (64th overall) out of Stanford. Since then, Richards has failed to live up to the expectations of a second-round pick.
His performance during Super Bowl XLII — a performance which came while Malcolm Butler was kept on the sideline due to a coach’s decision — was poor, and it will now go down as his final performance in a Patriots uniform.
In three seasons, Richards recorded 49 total tackles (40 solo tackles) in 41 regular-season games. He didn’t record any sacks or interceptions, though he did force two fumbles.
According to Howe, Nick Foles was 2-for-2 for 74 yards when targeting Richards in the Eagles’ Super Bowl win. That included Richards’ poor coverage and missed tackle on a pass to Corey Clement that went for 55 yards, on the drive that ended with Foles catching a touchdown on the “Philly Special” before halftime.
Richards never really established any sort of role as a defensive player. He played in 22 percent of the Patriots’ defensive snaps in 2015, 2 percent in 2016, and 26 percent last year. He did, though, carve out a role on special teams, playing 51 percent of the team’s special teams snaps as a rookie, 34 percent in his second year and 69 percent last season.
Richards was projected to be a sixth- or seventh-round pick heading into the 2015 draft, so it was surprising to see Belichick select him in the second round. With the disappointing end to his three-ear Patriots career, Richards will join the likes of Ras-I Dowling and Tavon Wilson as “reach” defensive back picks for Belichick that did not work out.