The best running back prospect in the last decade – Trent Richardson.
Scott Says –
No brainer here. Richardson is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the running backs in this class, and easily the No. 1 running back off the board. He’s the complete package. I could literally go on and on about Richardson, but let’s just keep it simple. He possesses great breakaway speed. While he may not compete with the numbers that LaMichael James and Lamar Miller will put up at the combine, I’d expect him to be somewhere in the 4.45 range, which is a legit time in its own right.
He has tremendous lateral quickness and patience, allowing him to wait for holes to develop, and then he has a tremendous initial burst through that hole. He did play behind an NFL-ready offensive line, which sometimes led him to not getting hit within the first few yards of scrimmage. Still, I found Richardson to be the most impressive against better competition when the initial holes were not there.
Richardson also possesses elite strength and conditioning. You could not turn on an Alabama game this year without hearing the announcers talk about how much he can lift. He can bench, depending on who you listen to, around 450 pounds, and he can squat well in excess of 600 pounds. It shows on the game field. He’s the strongest guy out there, and extremely difficult to bring down. Just about every play you watch, it takes multiple defenders to bring him down. While that doesn’t always translate to the NFL, it will in this case. You just don’t see players with that type of strength. It also speaks to his desire and motivation. Richardson is an unbelievably hard worker, and by all accounts does not possess any red flags as far as character.
In short, this guy is the complete package. No one is close to him in this draft class, or any in recent memory for that matter. Mark Ingram will inevitably be tied to Richardson. Richardson is superior to Ingram in every way. Adrian Peterson was labeled as being the top running back prospect in recent memory. I think Richardson is a better prospect. He’s as real as it gets, and I can see him going as high as No. 4 to Cleveland.
Mark Says –
Rather than just repeat everything Scott wrote (he’s right, by the way), I’m going to go on record as saying he is a better prospect than Adrian Peterson. No, I was not one of the naysayers crying ‘injury history’ when Peterson declared. I was incredibly high on him too. Richardson is just that good. He does everything that Peterson did when he came out … and a little bit more.
Richardson isn’t just a monster; he’s a dynamic playmaker on the field. Players like Matt Forte and LeSean McCoy are in the process of carving out exceptional careers despite not being an elite athlete because they know how to play running back. Richardson plays remarkably similar to these players, only he is an elite athlete. There aren’t going to be any training wheels on Richardson in the passing game when he goes pro either. Unlike Peterson, he is pro ready in every aspect of the passing game – routes, blocking, catching, etc. He does it all.
A strong argument can be made for Richardson going as high as No. 4 to Cleveland, although he probably will not. Ultimately some team will trade into the Top 10 to nab this future Hall of Famer (yea, I said it). Monitor how the Cincinnati Bengals feel about him and the rest of the running backs in this class. They have the ammo to move up as well as a need. Richardson and AJ Green in back-to-back classes? Scary thought for the rest of the AFC North.
You want upside? You got it!