Why Trent Richardson Trade Will Haunt Cleveland Browns

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIApril 27, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Trent Richardson (R) from Alabama holds up a jersey as he stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was selected #3 overall by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns undoubtedly got better by selecting Trent Richardson with their first selection in the 2012 NFL draft, but they will regret surrendering three picks to move up and take him.

Cleveland worked a trade with the Minnesota Vikings to move from No. 4 to No. 3 and ensure they got Richardson. They sent the Vikings picks 118, 139 and 211 in this year's draft to make that happen. The Browns most likely made that deal because they thought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would move up ahead of them and nab Richardson in a different deal with the Vikings.

Frankly, I think the Browns got fleeced of three picks because the Vikings weren't going to take Richardson at No. 3 and the Buccaneers didn't actually have the ammunition to trade up to that spot. For weeks the Vikings tried to drum up interest in the third pick and they couldn't make a deal happen. If the Bucs had really owned the assets to make a deal happen, it would have gone down a while ago.

Yes, the Browns had extra picks to play with in this year's draft, so three late-round selections may not seem like a big deal. But this year's draft is incredibly deep with talent and Cleveland's roster is not. The Browns could use as many young, talented players as they can get their hands on, no matter what round they get them.

Richardson was the guy the Browns had to have. They desperately needed a running back and he is an elite talent at the position. The other moves the team made yesterday are what puzzled me.

Surrendering three picks to move up just one spot, and then drafting Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden at No. 22 are both decisions that will be scrutinized in the future. I'm not sure either one will be looked on favorably.