2012 NFL Mock Draft: Which Teams Will Target Alabama RB Trent Richardson?
Alabama running back Trent Richardson is the nation's best NFL prospect at the position despite coming up short in the Heisman Trophy voting. The junior hasn't declared his intent to enter next April's draft, but Michael David Smith reports he's leaning in that direction.
Here are three potential landing spots for Richardson should he enter the 2012 NFL draft.
Right now, it appears Cleveland is Richardson's most likely destination. Peyton Hillis is a free agent at season's end and has struggled with injuries. Neither Chris Ogbonnaya nor Montario Hardesty match the long-term potential of Richardson.
The Browns have a bunch of other needs, though. Colt McCoy needs more weapons in the passing game, although you could make a case that a strong running game is a weapon itself. Also, a premier pass rusher would do wonders for the team's defense.
Since Cleveland appears well on its way to another early pick, there will be no shortage of options for them to choose from come draft day. The front office needs to decide how important a running game will be to their future.
As for now, they're the favorites for Richardson.
The Seahawks have received surprisingly strong performances from Marshawn Lynch in recent weeks, but he is a potential free agent. After making just over $1 million in 2011, he'll likely be looking to cash in on a bigger deal in the offseason.
If Seattle decides to go another direction, Richardson could be an option. He's built in a similar manner to Lynch and has the potential to make an immediate impact. When it comes to first-round picks, that's an important factor to consider.
A possible fly in the ointment here would be the team's recent resurgence. The Seahawks have pushed themselves back into playoff contention, but have also watched their potential pick slide. If they win a couple of more games, the chances of Richardson still being available will drop.
Which of these teams would be the best fit for Richardson?
Cincinnati has two picks in the first round thanks to their trade of Carson Palmer to the Oakland Raiders. One of them could be used to draft a compliment to Cedric Benson, who is really nothing more than a volume ball carrier (low per-carry average).
Richardson would bring a new dynamic to the offense, which should open up more passing lanes for Andy Dalton. They've benefited from a favorable schedule this season, so the Bengals probably aren't as solid as their record would indicate.
The fact a potential playoff team makes the list indicates how volatile the market will be for Richardson. He has enough talent to go early, but there have been so many effective backs drafted outside the first round that teams have become hesitant.
Note: Draft order determined by combination of current record and projected finish.
|No.||Team (Record)||Player, Pos.|
|1.||Indianapolis Colts (0-13)||Andrew Luck, QB|
|2.||St. Louis Rams (2-11)||Justin Blackmon, WR|
|3.||Minnesota Vikings (2-11)||Matt Kalil, OT|
|4.||Miami Dolphins (4-9)||Matt Barkley, QB|
|5.||Carolina Panthers (4-9)||Morris Claiborne, CB|
|6.||Buffalo Bills (5-8)||Michael Floyd, WR
|7.||Cleveland Browns (4-9) ||Trent Richardson, RB
|8.||Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9)||Quinton Coples, DE
|9.||Washington Redskins (4-9)||Robert Griffin III, QB|
|10.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9) ||Riley Reiff, OT
|11.||Philadelphia Eagles (5-8)||Alshon Jeffery, WR|
|12.||Kansas City Chiefs (5-8)||Landry Jones, QB
|13.||Seattle Seahawks (6-7) ||Dre Kirkpatrick, CB|
|14.||San Diego Chargers (6-7) ||Alfonzo Dennard, CB|
|15.||Arizona Cardinals (6-7) ||Jonathan Martin, OT|
|16.||Tennessee Titans (7-6)||Vontaze Burfict, LB|
|17.||Cincinnati Bengals (via OAK) (7-6)||Lamar Miller, RB|
|18.||Chicago Bears (7-6) ||Peter Konz, C|
|19.||Dallas Cowboys (7-6) ||Devon Still, DT|
|20.||Cincinnati Bengals (7-6)||Janoris Jenkins, CB|
|21.||Detroit Lions (8-5)||Luke Kuechly, LB|
|22.||New York Jets (8-5)||David DeCastro, OG
|23.||Denver Broncos (8-5)||Brandon Thompson, DT|
|24.||Cleveland Browns (via ATL) (8-5)||Jarvis Jones, LB|
|25.||Houston Texans (10-3)||Mark Barron, S|
|26.||Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3)||Dont'a Hightower, LB
|27.||New York Giants (7-6)||Zach Brown, LB|
|28.||New England (via NO 10-3)||Chase Minnifield, CB|
|29.||Baltimore Ravens (10-3)||Courtney Upshaw, DE|
|30.||San Francisco 49ers (10-3)||Kendall Wright, WR|
|31.||New England Patriots (10-3)||Mohamed Sanu, WR|
|32.||Green Bay Packers (13-0)||Cordy Glenn, OG|
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