2012 NFL Draft Projections: Destinations for Draft's Top Running Backs

Austin GreenCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 09:  Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs for a 34 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against Morris Claiborne #17 of the Louisiana State University Tigers during the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Although 2011 was the "Year of the Quarterback," a strong running game is still an essential element of NFL success. Simply put, if your running back can't deliver at critical times, you're doomed to failure.

Luckily for a few teams, they will be able to upgrade their backfield in the first round of the upcoming draft. This year's class isn't loaded with elite running backs, but a few are exceptionally talented.

Here are their most likely destinations as of now.


Trent Richardson

While the media drools over quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, I'm expecting Richardson to be the best player from the 2012 draft class.

The Alabama product is one of the most violent runners I've ever seen. He uses his size, speed and pleasingly nasty demeanor to ruin defenders, as you can clearly see in the video above.

Every team would kill to have a running back like Richardson on the roster, so don't expect him to be chilling in the green room for too long.

The Cleveland Browns have the fourth overall pick, and after the failed Peyton Hillis experiment, they desperately need a running back. Look for them to select Richardson, thus securing their running back of the future.


Lamar Miller

The speedster out of Miami dazzled at the combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.40 seconds—fastest of all running backs.

He also proved last season that he's capable of shouldering a large offensive burden. As a redshirt sophomore, he ran for 1,272 yards and nine touchdowns on 227 carries.

Miller doesn't have the potential of Richardson, but he's capable of being one of the most explosive playmakers in the league. He's got blazing speed and is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.

The Cincinnati Bengals have the 17th and 21st picks in the draft. With Cedric Benson on the way out, the Bengals would be smart to add Miller with one of their first round picks.


David Wilson

Wilson showed steady improvement in each of his three years at Virginia Tech. Last year, he capitalized on his opportunities, racking up 1,709 yards and nine touchdowns on 290 carries.

I doubt he'll produce at that high of a level in the NFL, but he'll definitely be a quality starter.

The Super Bowl champion Giants recently let go of Brandon Jacobs, and Ahmad Bradshaw isn't a premier back.

Don't be surprised if they pick up Wilson with the last pick of the first round.