Is Trent Richardson a Draft Bust?

Updated: September 25, 2013

It’s been a week since the Cleveland Browns decided to part ways with the #3 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Trent Richardson. Just 18 games into his career the man is on his second team and was traded by the very man who called him a “top 5 back” before he ever stepped foot on a NFL field.

There are a lot of questions, and none of the answers look well for Trent. Why would a “rebuilding” team trade such a young commodity? Why would the man who called him a top 5 back trade him just after two games into his tenure? Why would the Browns bail on “the best runningback on planet earth” according to some draft pundits?

Let’s break it down.

1. The Browns should have never drafted Trent that high.

Adrian Peterson is the sole exception to the “no running back is worth a top 10 pick rule” and he was picked seventh when he came out of Oklahoma. By picking Trent third, the Browns were stating that Trent was a HALL OF FAME type back. When in reality, he projects to just a good pro.

2. Drafting Trent third created the Brandon Weeden problem.

The Browns went into the 2012 draft with the third pick. It was rumored that the Browns wanted to secure Robert Griffin III, however the Washington Redskins acquired the second pick before Cleveland could do anything about it.

Panicking, the Browns selected the next highest rated player on the board without giving any credence to positional value. This then created a problem of not having a quarterback in which Cleveland “solved” by trading for the 22nd pick and drafting a 28 year old in the first round.

For those keeping score, the correct answer was Ryan Tannehill at #3 overall, and trading back for Doug Martin. I understand that all’s right in hindsight, but for what it’s worth there were rumors of Tannehill at #3 and the Browns blinked.

3. Is Trent that good?

Throughout his first 300 career carries, Trent Richardson has amassed slightly around 1000 yards, and only 3.4 yards per carry. In his first contest with the Colts the third overall pick gained 35 yards on 13 carries.

Ahmad Bradshaw gained 95 yards on 19 carries in the same game, just his third game with the club.

Yes Trent is still young but this is still very telling. All in all, it looks like the Browns made the correct decision to recoup that first round pick. Sure it won’t be third overall unless Andrew Luck gets injured. It would be a smart NFL bet on the Colts making the playoffs (additional info). Either way it’s still a first rounder. In this loaded quarterback draft the Browns will be able to secure a passer with the pick they “earn” on their own and secure a nice back with the twenty-something pick they get from the Colts.

In my opinion the Browns have pulled off a rare feat of recouping a sunken asset in this league. Well see how the Browns use the picks, but for now it looks like they are on the right path.