Last year, the Colts looked to be hatching the NFL’s first ever Quintuplets, via the presence and solid performances of five rookie skill-position players.
This year, two of the five are done for the year, but a new Ringo has been added to form a Fab Four that could propel the Colts back to the AFC’s elite.
With running back Vick Ballard (ACL) and tight end Dwayne Allen (hip) both lost for the season, running back Trent Richardson has arrived with a mega-boom, giving the Colts two of the top three picks from the 2012 draft and creating a pick-your-poison run-pass proposition for opposing defenses, via quarterback Andrew Luck throwing to 2012 rookies T.Y. Hilton and Coby Fleener. Owner Jim Irsay has demanded better protection for quarterback Andrew Luck, and there aren’t many more effective ways to keep the quarterback clean than to have a strong running game that will set up play-action passes.
Some would say that veteran running Ahmad Bradshaw is every bit as good as Richardson, but Richardson is younger, has more tread on the tires, and has performed well last year in Cleveland despite a largely lackluster passing attack.
It’s a move for the Colts that has plenty of risk, but also plenty of potential rewards. Far cheaper from a trade compensation standpoint than the deal that brought running back Herschel Walker to Minnesota in 1989 and far less costly from a player compensation standpoint due to the rookie wage scale, the Colts surrendered what could be a low first-round draft pick in order to give Luck his very own Edgerrin James.
Of course, James was gone by the time Peyton Manning’s Colts won the Super Bowl. But Richardson could help propel the Colts back toward the status that seemed to be presumed after 2012, but that seemed more than a little shaky after the first two weeks of the 2013 season.
If it works, the Colts will look to be geniuses. If it doesn’t, it’ll be hard to fault them for trying to swing for the fences.