With the fourth pick in the 2012 draft, the Browns traded up a spot. And with the third pick in the 2012 draft, the Browns took running back Trent Richardson.
And now the same knee that hampered Richardson in the run-up to the draft will send him to Dr. James Andrews for a look-see.
Regardless of how it turns out, the development underscores the risks of going all in with a tailback in the top five, especially if there’s any hint of trouble regarding any of the leg joints the running back will be using to justify the franchise’s faith in him.
One of the cruel realities of football is that guys who have injury issues at one level typically don’t hold up at the next level. Yes, Adrian Peterson largely overcame a history of getting banged up and beaten around at Oklahoma; but he entered the NFL with two good ankles, knees, and hips.
Richardson didn’t. And now the team that we put at No. 32 in the our preseason power rankings could be in danger of sliding down a rung or two if we added a few teams from Richardson’s college conference to the mix.
The risk Holmgren took makes us wonder what he knew about a possible sale of the team (to Jimmy Haslam or to anyone) when pulling the trigger on Trent Richardson in April. If Holmgren sensed at the time that 2012 could be his last year in Cleveland, it explains why he’d lean toward a higher-risk, higher-reward top-five strategy, not to mention a 28-year-old, game-ready rookie quarterback. (It also helps explain why Holmgren would take a round-two flier on receiver Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft; if Holmgren may not be there to use the second-round pick in April 2013, why not use it now?)
Either way, Haslam is going to want to know exactly what Holmgren was thinking when the decision was made to take Richardson. Especially since more than a few fans will now be asking that question.