Why Cleveland Browns RB Trent Richardson is Already a Top 5 NFL RB

Nick Kostora@@nickkostoraContributor IIISeptember 23, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 16:  Trent Richardson #33 of the Cleveland Browns runs with the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Can you name five running backs you would rather have in the backfield than Trent Richardson?

He presents the combination of size, speed, skill, athleticism and youth that teams salivate over.

And just three games into his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns, he is already one of the best RB's the game has to offer.

Sure, he has a way to go before becoming truly elite, but he has the skill of guys like Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew and Arian Foster.

Richardson is demanding a heavier workload than most backs, and he does not have the suddenly popular RB companion with him sharing carries.

At 5'9", 230 pounds, Richardson is the bulldozing downhill runner that always seems to fall forward.

He has been able to maneuver around the deficiencies of the Browns offensive line and make something out of nothing on multiple occasions.

In Week 2, he rushed for 109 yards on 19 carries and had 36 receiving yards, scoring two touchdowns on the day.  

Defenses will undoubtedly key in on the Alabama product all season, especially with quarterback Brandon Weeden making the difficult transition to the NFL himself.

Richardson, like the best backs in the league, will constantly see eight or nine men in the box prepared to defend the run.

He is the rare player that can handle that type of pressure.

It is up to Cleveland to recognize that and ensure he gets the ball.

That seems like an obvious point, but in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills, Richardson had just 12 carries for 27 yards and a touchdown.

He is simply too good to be relegated to less than 15 carries worth of work.

Richardson has the attributes of the best running backs in the league put together.

Speed of Rice and Jones-Drew?

Check. Richardson runs a 4.5 second 40 yard dash.

Power of Michael Turner, Darren McFadden and Peyton Hillis?

Check. Watch this Sports Science video to see why.

There are great running backs that excel at one specific element of the position, but there are few that do everything as well as Richardson.

His numbers may not be the best in the league this year simply because of the team he is on and the offensive line in front of him.

Cleveland is going to be playing from behind more often than not and will be playing pass-happy catch-up offense, but Richardson is an elite running back talent.

In fact, even as a rookie, he is one of the top five backs the league has to offer.

Imagine how good he will be in five years.