OXNARD, Calif. — Despite a training camp for rookie offensive lineman Asim Richards that has featured him getting the majority of his reps at left guard, the fifth round pick out of North Carolina was thrust into the spotlight at left tackle for the preseason opener after an injury to Chuma Edoga last week.
For Richards, it was natural having to slide out to that position – a position he saw nearly 2,500 snaps at in college – before sliding back inside as the game went on to take advantage of the reps available.
"I didn't really know I was going to play tackle until a couple of days before," Richards said. "Chuma went down and I picked it up for him. It felt really natural at both spots. I'm really glad that I've had that time to develop my guard skills. My college experience really helped me be fine at tackle during the game."
Working with offensive line coach Mike Solari, Richards has been able to pick up playing at guard rather smoothly, and that transitioned into him showing his strength and quick hands inside last Saturday.
"I feel like I know how to get my hands up quicker," he said. "Everything happens really quick inside. It's not like the outside where there's more space. They're on you quick and they're bigger guys. You just gotta get your hands up and that's what I'm learning. I'm still improving on that."
When Richards was selected in the 2023 draft, versatility between tackle and guard really stood out. The front office said from the jump that Richards would get work both outside and inside to see where his maximum potential resides.
"One of the reasons why they drafted me is versatility, so they can trust me out there and put me at guard which they did," he said. "I can be versatile. I can play multiple positions and I know a lot of these guys in the room can do the same. I just want to be that guy that they can rely on during the season."
His first step towards being that guy that can be relied upon was mostly successful for Richards in his preseason debut, but work is still left to be done to accomplish that feat.
Moving forward, it's about remaining consistent and continuing to show that he can be just as dominant at either position the offensive staff wants him at.
"I'm hoping to just get better with my technique at guard, better at tackle too. I want to be whoever they need me to be, that guy."