I've heard all the excuses in the book as to why the Cleveland Browns should not use their fourth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft on running back Trent Richardson. From internet blogs of super fans to conversations with friends, there is plenty of talk out there that supports not drafting Richardson.
These are the most prominent excuses I've heard for not selecting the best running back in this year's draft, followed by the reasons they are wrong:
'Cleveland needs to focus on getting a franchise quarterback'
The draft position the Browns are in means that by the time they are on the clock, both of the best QB's in the draft will be gone. This leaves Ryan Tannehill as the best option at drafting a quarterback in the first round. Though he is a talented passer, without a good running game to take the pressure off him or a proven big time receiver, Tannehill will sputter in this offense.
Both Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace are the biggest QB running threats in the AFC North and with the proper weapons around them, either could be dangerous to opposing defenses. McCoy and Wallace both proved last year that they could get away from pass rushes and gain yards on the ground and Cleveland can't ignore this. I truly believe McCoy or Wallace could be an absolute stud with the right tools. There is nothing Tannehill can do that either of these two can't.
'Running backs don't win championships'
Most critics agree that quarterbacks and defenses are the keys to Super Bowl caliber teams. The past three champs have all had passing-focused offenses with no outstanding runner and great defenses. Those high-powered offenses, though, would be nothing without at least the threat that they could run the ball. The ability to run the ball allows a team to drain the clock during the most important times in the game. Running backs may not win championships but no team can do it on passing alone.
'Cleveland needs to focus on receivers for their west coast offense.'
Cleveland absolutely needs a big time receiver for their WCO to succeed. Greg Little is a real threat and all of his mistakes and dropped passes will go away with experience; remember he played last season after sitting out his senior year at North Carolina and was only a rookie. This year's draft class is wide receiver deep which allows Cleveland the opportunity to wait to draft the receiver who will go alongside Little.
To sum it up:
Cleveland needs to get away from its one-dimensional offensive attack. Their 193 passing yards per-game and 95 rush yards per-game last year both ranked them in the bottom third of the league. This was because defenses knew Cleveland's ability to run was next to nothing and they could focus on the pass. With a capable running game, the passing game could be blown wide open and the Browns could have the dual threat offense that would allow them to succeed.
Richardson's talent does not come around often, and even more rare is the ability for your team to get its hands on him. The Browns need to take him with their first pick, and subsequent picks should be as follows: