The SEC is again poised to send a bevy of talent into the NFL in 2012, and there's a good chance that former Alabama running back Trent Richardson will be either the first or second SEC player off the board when the NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 26 in New York.
Most mock drafts have Trent Richardson going in the early-to-mid first round, with the Browns at No. 4 being the highest of the projections. Whichever team lands Richardson, it'll be getting a top-tier running back that will be able to handle the load in the NFL immediately.
Unfortunately for Richardson, he was unable to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine and Alabama's pro day after undergoing offseason knee surgery.
Richardson came to Alabama in 2009 already built for the NFL—and it showed. As a backup to 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, Richardson rushed for 751 yards as a true freshman, including 367 against SEC opponents.
He finished off his spectacular freshman campaign with a 109-yard, two-touchdown performance in Pasadena, as Alabama claimed its first national title since 1992.
Following a solid sophomore campaign in 2010 that saw Richardson rush for 700 yards, he took control of the starting running back position in 2011 and didn't disappoint. After 283 carries and 1,679 rushing yards, Richardson found his way to New York City as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
Can he take the punishment? Yep. Just look at him. Richardson's legs are like tree trunks. He had 20 or more carries in seven games in 2011, five of which were against SEC defenses.
Does he have the moves? Absolutely. Don't believe me? The Ole Miss defense can vouch.
Can he close out games? Yep. He shut the door with 4:36 to play against LSU in the 2012 BCS Championship Game, which gave the Tide the 2011 national title. In the Iron Bowl, Richardson's 57-yard cross-field scamper in the fourth quarter finished off Auburn.
Wherever Richardson lands in the NFL, he will be a success. He has the body, the skills and the pedigree to be an every-down back from the moment that he steps on the field.