2012 NFL Mock Draft: Trent Richardson and Declining Draft Value of RBs

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IOctober 30, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 22:  Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after their 37-6 win over the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 22, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alabama running back Trent Richardson is widely considered a top 15 pick in NFL draft, but he is not going in the first round. Running backs have been devalued in the NFL draft and Richardson's lack of off-the-charts athleticism is going to cost him.

Declining Value of RBs

NFL teams have become more and more reluctant to draft running backs in the first round. It is now one of the most lightly drafted positions in the opening round.

Over the last two years only four RBs have been taken in the first round.

In 2010 three RBs went in the first: No. 9 CJ Spiller No. 12 Ryan Mathews No. 30 Jahvid Best. None of these players showed they were worthy of their lofty selection in their rookie seasons, and the RB draft value fell even further.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Mark Ingram, #28 overall pick by the New Orleans Saints, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Last year, Mark Ingram was the first ball carrier off the board at No. 28. Ingram had the terrific resume and solid athleticism to go higher, but he almost slid out of the first because teams would rather take RBs in the later rounds.

Why Trent Richardson Will Fall

Like Ingram, Richardson has a great resume and history of success. Check out some of his highlights.

What he lacks, though, is stellar athleticism. Richardson will probably only work out at his pro day, and when he does he will display less than elite lateral quickness and a 40 time between 4.5 and 4.7.

You combine those results with the reluctance to draft RBs high in the first, and you get Richardson lasting until the second.

Will Any RBs go in the 1st?

Yes, one will. I predict Cincinnati will spend one of their two first-round picks on Miami RB Lamar Miller.

The fact that I have Miller going before Richardson is sure to raise some eyebrows, but Miller has more explosion and versatility.

The Bengals will want to add a big play threat at running back to go with skill position young guns Andy Dalton and AJ Green. Miller will be that guy—assuming he enters the draft.

Check out some of Miller's highlights, and see my full first round mock draft below.

Here is my full first-round mock:

Pick
Team
Player
Pos
School
1 Colts Andrew Luck
QB Stanford
2 Dolphins Matt Barkley
QB  USC
3 Rams Justin Blackmon
WR
Oklahoma ST
4 Cardinals Matt Kalil
OT
USC
5 Jaguars
Morris Claiborne CB LSU
6 Panthers Alshon Jeffery
WR South Carolina
7 Vikings Jonathan Martin
OT
Stanford
8 Seahawks
Robert Griffin III
QB 
 Baylor
9 Eagles
Riley Reiff
OT
Iowa
10 Broncos
Dre Kirkpatrick
CB
Alabama
11 Browns Vontaze Burfict
LB
Arizona State
12 Chiefs Landry Jones
QB
 Oklahoma
13 Titans Quinton Coples
DE
North Carolina
14 Cowboys Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina
15 Redskins
Manti Te'o
LB
Notre Dame
16 Bears
Mike Brewster
C
Ohio State
17 Jets 
Courtney Upshaw
DE
Alabama
18 Bengals Lamar Miller
RB
Miami
19 Buccaneers Alfonzo Dennard
CB
Nebraska
20 Browns Jayron Hosley
CB
Virginia Tech
21 Texans
Michael Floyd
WR
Notre Dame
22 Chargers
TJ McDonald
S
USC
23 Ravens
David DeCastro
G
Stanford
24 Giants Alameda Ta'amu
DT
Washington
25 Bengals
Casey Hayward
CB
Vanderbilt
26 Bills
Ronnell Lewis
OLB
Oklahoma
27 Lions
Barrett Jones
T/G
Alabama
28 Patriots Brandon Jenkins
DE
Florida State
29 Steelers
Jerel Worthy 
DT
Michigan State
30 49ers
Janoris Jenkins
CB
N. Alabama
31 Patriots
Juron Criner
WR
Arizona
32 Packers
Chase Minnifield
CB
Virginia

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