Why Trent Richardson Proves That Running Backs Can Be Worthy of Top 5 Picks

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IOctober 7, 2012

Oct 7, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson (33) runs against the defense of New York Giants defensive back Stevie Brown (27) and cornerback Prince Amukamara (20) to score a touchdown in the first quarter. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Mills/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE
The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

Every rule has an exception. 

I hate, and when I say hate, I mean despise, when running backs are taken early in the first round of any NFL draft. 

With short shelf lives, a heightened propensity to get injured and the entire NFL drastically shifting to a greater emphasis on the passing game, it just doesn't make sense to select a running back with a top pick. 

Trent Richardson is the exception.  

No, he's not as supremely explosive as Adrian Peterson, the only other recent exception to what's become a cardinal draft rule, but I can't fault the Cleveland Browns for taking him with the No. 3 overall pick. 

Frankly, there were more reasons for Cleveland to choose Richardson than not choose him. 

Firstly, when a player is a truly special talent and his sheer presence will alter the opponent's game plan, he must be selected. Also, if you plan to utilize him often, that helps too. 

The Browns believed Richardson would be a workhorse in their offense and felt opposing defenses would be forced to tweak their game plans. 

Richardson hasn't set the world on fire to begin his career, but that's OK. He accumulated 145 total yards and scored two touchdowns against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2. Against the New York Giants in Week 5, the Alabama alum again demonstrated why he has the potential to be the exception for the Browns. 

Although Pat Shurmur's group couldn't stop the G-Men's high-flying offensive attack, Richardson carried the ball 17 times for 81 yards and scored a TD on the ground. 

He also reeled in five passes for 47 yards—truly a new-age NFL running back stat line. 

Because defenses will put the onus on stopping "T-Rich," he won't have huge games every week. The Browns establishing themselves as more of a dynamic passing offense in the future would certainly help Richardson's ability to contribute, as well.

Either way, the Browns filled a need, drafted a premier talent they plan on prominently featuring in their offense who is an extremely versatile player. 

Almost always, you don't draft a running back in the Top 5. 

But Trent Richardson is a special case.