The Tampa Bay Buccaneers can’t go wrong with the fifth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. With both needs at running back and cornerback, either Morris Claiborne or Trent Richardson will be a welcome addition. With Claiborne gone in this scenario of the Rant Sports 2012 NFL Mock Draft, Trent Richardson becomes the obvious choice.
Richardson is considered among the most well prepared NFL ready running back prospects in recent memory. He was the winner of the Doak Walker Award given to the nation’s best running back and a top three Heisman trophy finalist. In addition, Richardson was also a finalist for the Maxwell and Walter Camp Player of the Year Awards. His 23 total touchdowns tied Tim Tebow for second most in SEC history, while tying Tebow and Cam Newton as the only players to rush for 20 touchdowns in the conference.
Trent Richardson would instantly bring a dimension the Buccaneers have sorely lacked the past few seasons. Like current Bucs running back Legarrette Blount, Richardson is a tough player who thrives as the game progresses. Last season, an impressive 49.7% of his rushing yards came after first contact. Of his 1,583 rushing yards in 2011, 59% of those yards came in the second half. Where Richardson differs from Blount is in ball security. Richardson fumbled just once in 614 career touches, a departure from Legarrette Blount’s 6 fumbles in just 385 touches. He also differs in his explosiveness off the ball and vision. Richardson has shown the shiftiness to leave defenders in their tracks, combining both speed and power in his 5’11’ 200 pound frame. His ability to catch out of the backfield would earn him the possible role of an every down back immediately.
Richardson is also considered one of the strongest pound for pound players coming out of the draft. He is reported to squat 600 lbs. and bench 475 lbs, all while maintaining his elite speed. His work ethic has been praised by his college coaches, something which Bucs head coach Greg Schiano has vowed to focus on.
In today’s NFL, teams need more than just running back to be effective. The Buccaneers have lacked depth at the position for several years and by selecting Richardson they would ensure the position is secure for the long term.