Can RB Trent Richardson Prove He is a Top NFL Player for the Cleveland Browns?

By Simon Greene
Trent Richardson Injury
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Drafted number three overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, Cleveland Browns‘ running back Trent Richardson was to be destined for greatness. Coming into the 2012 season, he was expected to reach a minimum 1,250-1,500 yards, because being on top of the Alabama Crimson Tide running back depth chart was a great feat. With 1,679 yards in his junior year, averaging 5.9 yards per carry and a college career average of 5.8 yards per carry, anything less than greatness would have been a huge let down. And a let down he was.

Chalking up his rookie year to injuries, Richardson didn’t manage to break 1,000 yards in 15 games, averaging a meager 3.6 yards per carry with 11 touchdowns and three fumbles. Although it’s possible to see that his problems were related to his injury, 3.6 yards per carry for a number three pick is still unacceptable. Breaking two of his ribs in week six, Richardson was required to wear additional padding around his ribs which he said was a big reason why he was not able to run as well. That coupled with his preseason arthroscopic surgery to remove the cartilage fragments that were  in his left knee gave  Richardson some excuses for an extremely average season.

According to NBC’s Pro Football Talk, Richardson said:

“I feel great. I wish you could watch the whole practice. I’m out there flying around. I finally feel skinny without all them big pads [to protect the ribs] on me. It’s easy to breathe. I can sleep at night. It’s a fresh breath on me.”

Unfortunately for Richardson, this really only gives him one season to make it up to the Browns and prove to all of his critics that he is capable of being one of the best running backs that the NFL has seen in years and the kind of running back that Adrian Peterson would aspire to be. Okay, so I’m really just exaggerating with that last point, but he really does need to step it up next season. I for one think that he is capable of doing it. Unless he gets his with more injuries during his sophomore season, we could be looking at the Richardson of his college days when the running back took over for New Orleans Saints‘ first round running back Mark Ingram and subsequently broke the SEC running back touchdown record by scoring 21 in 13 games.

Projection: 1,368 yards 12 touchdowns

Follow Simon Greene on Twitter @simongreene88

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