Being the top running back prospect in the 2012 NFL draft, Trent Richardson is already better than a majority of the running backs in the NFL.
Assuming that the Cleveland Browns take Richardson with the No. 4 pick, they will be getting one of the top playmakers in the NFL.
Richardson has a deadly combination of size and speed. He is built like a rock at a solid 225 lbs. and will truck over runners. He also possesses breakaway speed, with a 40-yard dash time in the 4.4 range.
Not only will he be effective carrying the ball between the tackles, but he also has reliable hands and will be a receiving threat out of the backfield.
With all these tools, Richardson is going to become a top-15 running back in his rookie season and will surpass the following players.
Mark Ingram may have been the starter over Trent Richardson at Alabama, but Richardson is going to have a bigger impact in the NFL.
Ingram is at a disadvantage playing for the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints are a passing team and have a running back by committee.
Ingram only had 122 carries last season and had to split time with Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas.
Assuming Richardson goes to the Cleveland Browns, he is going to be their best playmaker on offense. Richardson will be getting a significant amount of touches—because let's be honest, who else do the Browns even have?
I cannot think of one other significant playmaker on their offense. The only other person that stands out is Mohamed Massaquoi, but that is only because of his name.
DeMarco Murray surprised people with his 253-yard rushing performance last season.
He also showed to be a reliable receiver out of the backfield.
Everyone thought Dallas had found a hidden gem and that he would take the offense to the next level.
Murray had a couple more solid performances until he suffered a season-ending injury.
However, if you look at Murray’s stats, the teams against which he rushed for more than 100 yards were the St. Louis Rams, Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills. All three of these teams had losing records.
Trent Richardson is already better than Murray because he can do everything that Murray does, plus run the ball with power. Unlike Murray, Richardson is a bowling ball at 225 lbs. who can run over tacklers.
Ever since Ryan Mathews was drafted, there has been a lot of buzz about him.
People keep expecting him to have the same impact in the Chargers offense as LaDanian Tomlinson did.
Mathews is not LT and will never be close to that.
Sure, he will have a solid career. However, Mathews deals with too many health issues and has a problem holding on to the ball. In his two seasons in the NFL, Mathews has already fumbled the ball 10 times, losing five of them.
Trent Richardson is a more reliable running back.
In his college career, he lost only one fumble while touching the ball more than 600 times. He clearly shows that he has better protection of the ball, while also running with more power.
Rashard Mendenhall and Trent Richardson are very similar types of running backs.
Both are bruising running backs who also possess speed.
However, where Richardson has Mendenhall beat is in his ability to make plays by catching passes out of the backfield.
Mendenhall has rarely caught the ball in his NFL career, with only 68 receptions in four seasons.
With Richardson likely to go to the Browns, it will be a great matchup to see these two bruising running backs go head to head.
Similar to Rashard Mendenhall, Beanie Wells is another running back who has great speed for a bigger back.
In his first two seasons, Wells looked like he was going to be a bust.
He dealt with injuries while only running for a total of 1,190 yards.
Last season, he showed some flashes of his potential by recording his first 1,000-yard season and 10 touchdowns.
However, similar to Mendenhall, what Wells does not have is reliable hands. He is a one-dimensional player, and the Cardinals know it.
That is why the Cardinals drafted Ryan Williams out of Virginia Tech last year to become their third-down back.
Richardson has a better all-around game. His health is not a concern, and he is going to be a three-down running back, unlike Wells.