April 24, 2024   7 MIN READ

Bo Knows Draft Dreams

Air Force's Richter Positioned For Pros


In almost prophetic fashion, Bo Richter finds himself exactly where one year ago he envisioned he would be – positioned to land on an NFL roster just days before the NFL Draft.

For Richter, a do-it-all defender at Air Force who last season collected 10 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles, his rise to pro prospect was gradual, but never in doubt.

His 6-foot-2, 248-pound frame looked explosive and twitchy firing off the edge following years of wearing multiple hats and gradually climbing the ranks.

Richter also brings added appeal for his scheme versatility, as his athletic skills also lend themselves favorably to off-ball linebacker at the pro level.

He wasn’t afforded the opportunity to showcase his traits at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, which can often be a detriment for projected late-round prospects and priority free agents, but Richter remained undeterred.

Bo Richter

GETTY IMAGES: Air Force EDGE Bo Richter could hear his name called on Day 3 of the NFL Draft.

The Eagles, who typically do their homework on all pass rush prospects, observed him at the College Gridiron Showcase, where Richter spoke extensively with national scout Jordon Dizon.

The Eagles weren’t represented at Richter’s pro day, but they’ve kept tabs on him via phone calls with his agent.

“They were one of the first teams to come out and tell me, ‘We like you at edge, still, like you played in college,'” Richter said. “And other teams have kinda come forward and voiced the same feeling.

“But [the Eagles] were definitely the first one to put it on my radar that that was basically still an option for me.”

Richter’s pro vision was long ago set in motion. His sights were set on building momentum at the Air Force pro day.

In preparation, he trained out of Atlet Sports Performance, a spacious facility located south of Fort Worth, Texas.

Under the guidance of trainer Ryan Mentzel, Richter was pushed to his limit. Other linebackers Aaron Brule (Michigan State), C.J. Goetz (Wisconsin) and Byron Vaughns (Baylor) took part in the same sessions.

The spirited sessions bred conducive results, so much that Richter and Mentzel believed a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash could be a legitimate outcome.

Nineteen teams attended his pro day March 13, primarily for a closer look at another combine snub, safety Trey Taylor.

But as he’s done throughout his career, Richter seized the opportunity.

The 4.4 never came to fruition, as Richter pulled his hamstring on the first attempt, clocking a 4.56.

The hybrid defender did, however, ensure that his name sounded alarms in the minds of scouts on the way out, when he produced a 40-inch vertical; 10-foot-4-inch broad jump; and 26 reps on the bench press.

“I don’t think that I blew my own expectations out of the water,” he said. “I knew what I was capable of.”

As far as rehabilitation goes, Richter, who said he’s never encountered a soft tissue injury during his athletic career, insisted that he feels great, estimating he’s at near 90-95% of recovery completion.

And to refrain from any potential setback, Mentzel advised Richter against participating in any local day workouts.

“We’ve been taking it slow,” Richter admitted. “I’ve been sprinting consistently for a while now. And I feel great. They’re still trying to take it slow with me, especially moving into rookie camp.

“They wanna make sure I’m 100 percent, with no chance of re-aggravating anything.”

Richter, a two-sport athlete who played offense in high school, was lightly recruited coming out of Naperville [Ill.] North High School, outside of Chicago.

Boasting strong ACT and SAT scores, and a tireless work ethic, Richter’s objectives were to play college football for a renowned program while also attaining a high-level education.

The Air Force satisfied both.

When an Academy assistant took notice of Richter at the Northwestern showcase, honing in on him during drills and later heavily courting him to the school, there was little hesitation from Richter.

Basic training begins immediately for freshman. They’re asked to acclimate to military lifestyle and language. The uncommitted are quickly weeded out.

Richter’s new routine included early mornings, military commitments, and football.

Most players were at the facility for seven hours before trekking up the hilly cadet terrain to begin schoolwork.

Though he didn’t see the field for his first two seasons, Richter made his last three count, playing sparingly in 2021 before attaining a more prominent role his final two seasons.

He logged snaps at defensive end, as well as inside and outside linebacker, before ultimately finding a home on the edge.

Much like his adaptation to the military lifestyle, Richter undertook the same mentality on the field.

“I learned how to manage my time, Richter said. “That’s something that you absolutely need to be able to do to succeed. There’s only so much time in the day and there’s a ton of stuff that you have to get done.

“The biggest thing I learned about myself personally was that I loved the structure. Not only that it was built in so that it could be done, it was all tacked out so that once you’re done here, you know exactly where you’re going. And I like that you’re on your toes all the time, but you don’t get bored.”

A projected late-round pick or priority free agent in the days to come, Richter has all but accomplished what he’d set out to attain.

All he wanted was an opportunity. He bet on himself to take care of the rest.

“I think battling up the depth chart in college is gonna absolutely help me in camp this summer,” Richter said. “Just because I know my efforts will be recognized at some point.

“But I don’t need to sit there and worry when that’s gonna be. I need to focus on putting forth that effort, never letting the motor turn off, showcasing those skills and never letting that mental shadow get over you and affect your performance.”

Navigating the pre-draft process can be daunting for a late bloomer like Richter, who found help in his more-scouted teammate, Taylor, who’s also one of his best friends.

Taylor has garnered quite a bit of interest as an intriguing Day 3 selection.

With the evaluation process behind, the former teammates have been virtually inseparable lately, frequently working out together.

Richter even plans to watch the draft with Taylor and his family.

“I’m no fool,” Richter said. “I think he’s brought a lot of interest to me, through the interest that coaches have had in him. So, I think having a player like that coming out in the same class as me is an absolute blessing for me, in terms of exposure.”

While prominently displaying exceptional short-area quickness and burst, Richter is also equipped to rely on hand usage and power at the point of attack when deconstructing blocks.

Those hallmarks, along with Richter’s special teams acumen, should warrant heavy consideration as an upside-laden late-round flyer.

But as the moments tick down until the start of the highly anticpated three-day draft, Richter won’t let the gravity of the moment consume him.

“I try to give it as least amount of thought as possible what it’s gonna feel like getting that call,” Richter said. “Just because nothing is set in stone until it happens.

“Right now, I just keep working hard and doing everything I can to make it happen. And then when it eventually happens, I’m sure it’ll be a surreal moment and I’ll have to step back and take it in and celebrate that with my family, my teammates and all the people who helped me get there.”

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.

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