I had him in fantasy last year, so yes, I know Trent Richardson is a fantasy stud. But as an actual running back, Richardson might be below average.
Last year, he averaged a measly 3.6 years a carry, and he was down to 3.4 this year. Those are not numbers that should happen for a first-round talent. Richardson’s problem is breaking big plays. Only 0.7 percent of his carries went for over 20 yards, and he has yet to run the ball for more than 10 yards this season for the Cleveland Browns.
Many will argue he did not have a great quarterback, but neither did Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson or C.J. Spiller, yet all of them put up great yards per carry stats. In the NFL, running the ball aids the pass, but rarely does having a solid quarterback really help the run.
Frankly, there are a lot of players who can average 3.5 yards a carry in the NFL. In fact, I guarantee Richardson’s replacement, Willis Mcgahee, will do so this season. In fact, McGahee averaged 4.4 yards a carry last season, a yard better than what Richardson is doing so far this year.
Why hold on to a player that can be so easily replaced? Sure, he had the potential to improve, but so does a first-round draft pick. A pick probably has more potential than Richardson because running backs do not have a steep learning curve (except with regards to pass blocking).
Richardson could certainly be useful with the Indianapolis Colts. They are desperate for a halfway decent running back, and Richardson is certainly that. The Colts will also use Richardson more in the passing game, something the Browns never liked to do, not because of Richardson, but because of their system.
Richardson is not a top talent, but he is an upgrade over Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard. However, those claiming that the Browns made a terrible decision are failing to see what Richardson really is: vastly overrated.