Trent Richardson a Top 10 talent, maybe not a Top 10 pick

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Alabama running back Trent Richardson sat out pro day after knee surgery, but he’s expected to be at full speed in time to work out for NFL teams before next month’s draft. And anyway, teams have seen more than enough of Richardson to know he’s an elite talent and one of the best running back prospects to come along in years.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to be a Top 10 draft pick.

As NFL teams continue to decide that running backs are fungible, there’s a belief in some circles that no running back, no matter how great a prospect, is worth a Top 10 pick. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said after visiting Alabama’s pro day that he has no doubt from watching film of Richardson that Richardson is one of this year’s elite prospects, but not necessarily one of this year’s highest picks.

“I think he’s a Top 10 talent,” Mayock said of Richardson. “That doesn’t mean that I endorse taking him with a Top 10 pick. I have a problem with running backs, and the history of running backs in the last 6-7 years in this league, justifying a pick that high. The last Top 10 pick for a running back that has paid off in my opinion has been Adrian Peterson, who went No. 7 to the Vikings.”

Last year Mark Ingram (who started ahead of Richardson for two years at Alabama) was the first running back off the board, and he lasted until the Saints took him at No. 28. It’s unlikely that Richardson will last that long, but this may be the second straight year that an Alabama running back spends longer than he expected sitting around waiting to hear his name called.

“As talented as Trent Richardson is — and I believe he is, I believe he is a Top 10 talent in this draft, I’m not convinced he’s going in the Top 10,” Mayock said.

The good news for some running back-needy team is that means Richardson could end up being a steal.

37 responses to “Trent Richardson a Top 10 talent, maybe not a Top 10 pick

  1. If you think this guy is just like an Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Jamaal Charles type talent, just take him if you need a running back.
    If you own a high pick, it’s because your team probably lacks elite talent. Your goal should be to get as much elite talent as possible regardless of position. It worked out pretty well for the Lions and Giants.

  2. Backs are an absolute waste of a first round pick. You can get a guy in the 4th round who does the exact same thing as a guy in the 1st round. This isn’t 1998 anymore where you needed an eltie back like Faulk or Tomlinson. The Pats have nobody. The Giants have a bunch of guys. The Packers have nobody. And look at their records.

  3. The good news for some running back-needy team is that means Richardson could end up being a steal
    He would only be a steal if he fell to the last few picks in round 1 or further. RBs are not as important as they once were and that means their value is declining. The teams with top QBs are consistently competing in the playoffs. Teams with top RBs typically aren’t unless they have one of those QBs. Richardson would help teams lik NE, GB or NYG but not teams like Seattle, WAS or CLE.

  4. Cincinnati should be laying in wait for this to happen. If Richardson falls out of the top ten they should be AGGRESSIVE trying to move up from 17. (Without giving up 21) They have a massive hole @ RB and Richardson is pro ready now and PERFECTLY built for Jay Gruden’s WC offense. Not very often you can get a top 5 talent out of the top ten. But that’s just what Richardson is. Casserly said he’s the 2nd best prospect behind Luck. I happen to agree. The kid is the perfect schematic for a NFL RB. Size, speed, hands, blocking & vision. The complete package. The next Steven Jackson in my humble amateur opinion.

  5. “The good news for some running back-needy team is that means Richardson could end up being a steal.”

    An even bigger steal being yet ANOTHER round of late/UDFA RBs that turn out to be just as productive as the ones drafted in the early rounds!

  6. If Tampa doesn’t draft him, which they shouldn’t because that’s too high to take a RB, I can see Cinci and Pittsburgh getting heavily involved looking to trade up for him. They can each use a quality back right now and Cinci would have a dynamic core for years with him, Dalton, Green, and that defense.

  7. If he is still around at #20, Tennessee
    should draft him and cut CJ…
    Cj just needs to take off those 24k gold socks he bought with that big contract and he’ll be al right.

  8. Every year, almost every team finds gold in the late rounds. I think this leads to a misconception that a team can consistently and reliably wait until later rounds to build the core of their team.

    If I’m wrong, why doesn’t every team have an Arian Foster, a Tom Brady, a Victor Cruz, etc?

    I agree with Mayock that top 10 talent doesn’t equal top 10 pick, but no, Trent Richardson is not a “dime a dozen”, sorry.

  9. i realize rb’s are not viewed to be as important as they once were due to the rise of passing games, but an elite back who can run, catch, AND block is so valuable. go ask the bucs, bengals, and jets what an everydown back could do for their offense compared to the one dimensional guys they have had in there. and if you think an arian foster is just super easy to come by, then good luck i guess. richardson is for real…

  10. You guys are hating. I always support the stance that RB’s are interchangeable but this guy is clearly a cut above. I think he would be a perfect fit on a team like the Bengals who are probably better of than most people realize. I also think the Jets should consider him even though they have more holes. They need to stop trying to ‘ground and pound’ without guys who can do it.

  11. As as bengals fan, I will be watching the first round with fingers and toes crossed hoping this kid falls to a point where we can move up by trading a 3rd rounder to get him, or the ultimate joy, staying at 17 and getting him. Backs like this guy aren’t available every year. Plus, he comes from a pro system where he has to make pro runningback reads, not just outrunning everyone to the edge, which doesn’t happen in the NFL.

  12. It’s completely false to say that running backs are a dime-a-dozen. First of all, LeSean McCoy and Ray Rice were both considered “first-round” talents that slipped down the draft board into round two. There are plenty of teams that wish they used their first rounder on those guys.

    Everyone forgets that Arian Foster was a lock as a first or second round pick after his junior season at Tennessee. Only Phil Fulmer convinced him to return to school for his final season, and then completely mismanaged Tennessee’s backfield. Fulmer killed Foster’s draft stock.

    Of the NFLs Top 15 leading rushers last season, 8 were first round picks. Three were second-round picks (McCoy, Rice and MJD). Two were third-round picks (Shonn Greene and Frank Gore). Then you have Michael Turner and Foster. Gore and Foster were both considered high-round talents at one time, but saw their stock plummet for one reason or another.

    So, really, out of the top-15 rushers last season, only one, Michael Turner, was a little regarded draft pick from his draft class.

  13. I agree with Mayock, using a top ten pick on a RB is foolish because the drop off in talent after Richardson is not that significant. Doug Martin, Chris Polk, Lamar Miller and Robert Turbin are all very solid prospects. I would much rather draft one of them with a later pick and use that top ten pick on someone like David Decastro from Stanford–heck, a road grater lineman like that could make those other RB’s look even better than Richardson.

  14. I completely disagree that RBs aren’t all that important. A good one can both eat up the clock, keeping the other team’s offense off of the field and salt away a game in the 4th quarter.
    And, if Richardson is as good as everyone says, he should be good for some big plays, wear down a defense and keep defensive players closer to the line to help open the passing game.

    I hope he lasts until 17 because he probably won’t get past the Bengals unless someone better falls that far.

  15. Building a dominant offensive line is more important so they can a) protect the team’s most asset: the QB; and b) open holes for a running back. The only back in modern history who could overcome a terrible line was Barry Sanders, and he was a once in a generation player. Sorry, Richardson is good by all accounts, but no Barry Sanders.

  16. Franchises will never learn. So many wasted first round picks over the last 8-9 years. I think only three of them turned out to be worthy of a first round pick, and if you do get a great one you are looking at maybe 5-6 really good seasons when you can draft a player who could be really good for 10-12 seasons. Besides, your number 1 RB is probably only on the field for 60 percent of your offensive plays. It just makes no sense. Draft your RB’s in the mid to late rounds. Most of those guys will have the same yard per carry as the guy you would have taken in the 1st anyway.

  17. I actually think RBs are a better value now than they were before the adjusted rookie salaries. Ofcourse that goes for each of the positions, but I think even moreso for RBs since they peak earlier than other positions. I also completely agree with the previous post’er that guys like Arian Foster and Dominik Cruz almost create an illusion that there’s nothing but gold to be found in the later rounds. Simply not true that you can get just as good of a guy by waiting.

    Also, per Mayock…

    “The last Top 10 pick for a running back that has paid off in my opinion has been Adrian Peterson, who went No. 7 to the Vikings.”

    And the only reason he went No. 7 is cause of injury concerns. He would’ve went 3 or 4 if he didn’t get those two big injuries in college. Apart from that, he was being touted as the best RB prospect in ages. Next he’ll be saying ‘the last top 10 WR to pay off was Calvin Johnson’. Well yeah, duh, cause he (and AP) are friggin beasts.

  18. Trent is a beast, and will be a blessing to whatever team gets him. I’d give anything if it could be my Steelers, but that is highly unlikely. Hope he doesn’t go to the Bengals–it’s tough enough having Mt. Cody with the Ravens. But last year I was thrilled the Saints picked up Ingram thinking he’d be in good hands. Sheesh. Would rather now he’d gone to Marv.

    Backs may not be as valuable to teams as they once were, but nothing beats watching a great one plowing through the other team as Trent’s done so many times for Bama. Roll Tide!

  19. Everyone at Bama knew that Richardson was a better RB than Ingram was. There is no way Richardson drops down in the draft. A RB like Richardson comes along only so often- a rare combo of speed, agility, quickness, hands, and unbelievable strength- especially for a RB. He is NFL ready, disciplined, and will be a pro.

  20. I’d be happy as hell to se him in a Lions uniform. RBs may not have the value they did in the past but Richardson is an exception to that rule. Given a decent offensive situation I could see him winning a rushing title as a rookie, and many more to come.

  21. For every Arian Foster there’s a million UDFA that don’t work out. Yeah, there are some that are more productive than first round picks, but it’s much easier to consistently hit in the first round.

  22. I agree, that you can get great backs in the later rounds. I don’t really want my Browns to draft him.

    However, with his talent, and our division, if they took him pick 4 or, even better, after trading down a few slots, I just couldn’t argue.

  23. Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the league, how’s his team doing? The way football is played currently makes the difference between a transcendent talent and an average replacement almost too small to notice. All that can get you wins now is a passing game and a defense that can disrupt somebody else’s passing game.

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