With the third overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected Trent Richardson out of Alabama.
Well, we knew this move was coming once the Browns swapped places with the Minnesota Vikings less than an hour before the draft began – but now it’s official. There are really no questions about this guy’s skill-level. Even though Jim Brown doesn’t appear to be a fan of his work, Richardson actually has everything a running back would theoretically need for success at the next level.
He knows how run strong, is consistently able to evade tackles, is great at using his blockers and has a really good attitude. There are some concerns about his speed not being as great as you would hope to see from a guy being hailed as the next big thing, but he more than makes up for it with the way he runs.
On the Browns’ side, this makes sense. Cleveland was 28th in the league last year in rushing yards per game, and Richardson will solve that problem for the team in a hurry. He’ll also take a load off Colt McCoy’s shoulders because he’s such a capable, underrated receiving option. Even when McCoy doesn’t opt to just dump it off to him, he’ll always be a viable option in any passing play just by virtue of his good hands and heady instincts.
The problems with taking a running back this high have been well-documented. Time will tell whether or not that will take a bit of luster off this pick. For now, though, it’s solid.