2012 NFL Draft: Is Trent Richardson a Possibility for the New York Jets?

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2012 NFL Draft: Is Trent Richardson a Possibility for the New York Jets?
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Am I crazy for thinking Trent Richardson could absolutely fall to the Jets? Let's look at this rationally:

There are 15 teams drafting ahead of the Jets. 

The following eight teams won't draft a running back because they're set at the position:

 - Minnesota Vikings (Adrian Peterson)

 - St. Louis Rams (Steven Jackson)

 - Jacksonville Jaguars (Maurice Jones-Drew)

- Carolina Panthers (Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart)

- Buffalo Bills (Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller)

- Kansas City Chiefs (Jamal Charles and Peyton Hillis)

- Seattle Seahawks (Marshawn Lynch)

- Philadelphia Eagles (LeSean McCoy)

That knocks out eight of the 15 teams right from the start. Next, we can immediately cross Indianapolis and Washington off of the list, as they'll be taking quarterbacks. 

That leaves (in order) Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Miami, Arizona and Dallas. Let's look at each individually.

Cleveland will definitely consider Richardson. However, their need for a quarterback is far more pressing. You can win without an elite runner; you can't without a quarterback. For Richardson to fall, Cleveland would have to take Ryan Tannehill with the No. 4 pick. Fortunately, I feel like this is the most likely case. 

In my mind, it seems that Tampa Bay has been connected to Richardson for no reason other than that he is such a good prospect. The Bucs doesn't need an every down back. LeGarrette Blount has proven that he deserves the lion's share of the carries in Tampa's offense. What they need is a speed back, someone like LaMichael James. 

Their real need, the one they should use the fifth pick to address, is cornerback. Aquib Talib has serious legal issues, Ronde Barber is nearing the end and Eric Wright really isn't a No. 1 corner. When you combine that need with value, Morris Claiborne makes far more sense for Tampa Bay than Richardson. If Claiborne is on the board, then I suspect he will be the pick. 

Miami is simply too needy elsewhere. If Tannehill is available they'll jump on him, but realistically I don't expect him to fall to No. 8. Reggie Bush was very productive last year, and there's simply no immediate need to replace him. The Dolphins have needs on the offensive line and secondary that can't be ignored. Quinton Coples and Riley Reiff are two players I expect them to target. 

Arizona is tricky. Beanie Wells came on last year, but is he a featured back? He's definitely on the borderline. Luckily for the Jets, Arizona heavily favors positional value over taking the best player available. Remember, in 2007 they used the No. 5 pick on left tackle Levi Brown, passing on a young back from Oklahoma named Adrian Peterson. Other than Wells and quarterback Matt Leinart, Arizona has spent all of their past seven first rounders on cornerbacks and the lines. It's hard to see them taking two runners in the first round so close together, especially when one has done well for them. 

Finally we reach the Dallas Cowboys. Jerry Jones loves his stars, and in a normal year I'd expect him to jump on the chance to select Richardson. However, last year he spent a third round pick on DeMarco Murray. Before getting hurt, Murray looked like a future star. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry and went for over 250 against the Rams. With needs on the offensive line and in the secondary, it just seems like an unnecessary luxury for the Cowboys to take Richardson.

So there you have it. If a few things happen, it is very possible that Trent Richardson could fall into Mike Tannenbaum's lap. Do I think it's particularly likely? No, a talent like Richardson is rare, so teams would have to think long and hard about passing on him. But it's definitely possible, which is something draft experts seem to be ignoring. 

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