Right now, the Browns need a lot of things, but a reliable running back who can alleviate the pressure from both the offense and defense has to be high on their list.
He will be playing in Week 1, that much we know. Right away you think of the total package he brings to their offense, and optimism sinks in. While frequently being compared to Emmit Smith and Earl Campbell, Richardson was a workhorse at 'Bama, having utilized both speed and strength to run over, around and by the best talent the SEC had to offer.
How much his "routine arthroscopic surgery" will affect his play against the Eagles is anyone's guess. What can be assured is that he will make the Browns more fun to watch. He will also make them a tougher team to plan against, simply because opposing defensive coordinators will have to respect the fact that he is capable of dominating any game.
It is difficult to project how well his game will translate to the NFL, but if he's anything like the last great, big specimen of a back who was drafted in the top 10, he'll be just fine.
Adrian Peterson came into the league with injury concerns and made sure everyone forgot about those very quickly. Peterson may be a bit bigger, but Richardson possesses a lot of the same qualities, and I imagine him giving the Browns something they haven't had in a long time: balance.
Whether he plays through the whole season is tough to predict, but watching him play at Alabama and seeing the tools he brings to the field, he was the exact player the Browns needed.
Whether it's five carries or 15, I'm excited for his impending debut.