Trent Richardson: 6 Biggest Pros and Cons of 2012 NFL Draft Prospect

James Christensen@@nepatriotsdraftContributor IApril 25, 2012

Trent Richardson: 6 Biggest Pros and Cons of 2012 NFL Draft Prospect

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    Trent Richardson is the top running back in the 2012 NFL draft, if not the best player in the draft overall. In fact, I'd be willing to listen to someone argue he could be the best running back in the entire NFL as a rookie, although he still has a lot to prove.

    It was easy to find three strengths in Richardson's game, but I had to get a little creative to find some weaknesses.

Strength: Brute Strength and Power

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    Richardson is not a running back that is stopped with an arm. Or even two arms. Maybe four arms and a couple of legs will do it. 

    He breaks tackles with ease and carries hapless defenders for extra yardage like he is putting on a backpack.

    When the developers at EA Sports put the "truck stick" in Madden, this is the player they were envisioning.

Strength: Athleticism

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    Nobody is going to mistake Richardson for Barry Sanders. He'd much rather run over you than run around you, but he does possess some wiggle.

    Richardson's balance, agility and acceleration are all top-notch. He isn't a Chris Johnson-speed back, but does he reach his peak quickly.

    He can extricate himself from tight spaces by acting like a bowling ball, bouncing off would-be tacklers and keeping his feet moving down the field. 

Strength: Completeness

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    As you'll see when I start detailing Richardson's "weaknesses," there might not be a more complete back in the NFL, let alone in the 2012 NFL draft.

    He can produce inside and outside, as a pass-catcher and as a blocker. Richardson is a player that never has to come off the field.

Weakness: Blocking

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    To be perfectly honest, I'm really having to nit-pick to find three weaknesses to Trent Richardson's game. 

    Richardson is a decent blocker in the passing game but could work a bit on his technique in picking up blitzes. He certainly has the will to do so and the physicality to get it done at the NFL level. 

    I don't see this as a concern lasting past the first few weeks of training camp.

Weakness: Injury Concerns

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    Richardson underwent a minor knee operation earlier this offseason. At first blush this is nothing to get worked up about, but teams are going to pore over every detail of that surgery.

    However, with Richardson's violent running style, he is going to get nicked up from time to time. If a team is going to invest a top five pick in Richardson, they need to know if he will be an injury risk.

Weakness: Top-End Speed

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    Again, I'm nit-picking here. Richardson was timed in the high 4.4's running the 40-yard dash at his Alabama pro day this March.

    On tape, however, he doesn't always show the ability to just outrun defensive backs at the second level. Unfortunately for the defensive backs, if they do catch him, he is probably going to put a lick on them.