Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Top Running Back in 2012 Draft: Trent Richardson

Trent Richardson is picked by several sources to be the top running back in the 2012 NFL draft. He is coming up as the fourth or fifth pick on several draft discussion sites.

Richardson is a short-stocky quick back who broke former Alabama teammate Mark Ingram's rushing record with 1,679 yards of his own last season while notching 21 rushing touchdowns. His 29 receptions totaled 338 receiving yards and included three touchdowns. On film (for me) two things stand out for Richardson: 1. He has an incredible lateral leap that allows him to change running lanes with lightening speed. 2. He smoothly combines athleticism and guts especially when he nears the end zone. He also gets high marks for the punishment he doles out to would-be tacklers. Although he is a "small" by NFL standards--just 5'9"--he is 228 lbs. He is 30 pounds heavier than Ahmad Bradshaw who is also 5'9" and about 30 pounds heavier than retired Lions' great Barry Sanders'(5'8"). Richardson is 15 pounds heavier than Emmet Smith who played for the Cowboys at 216. Richardson is extremely strong and he does not strike me as the kind of back that is going to be taken out in short yardage situations around the goal line.

Some suggest he is the best back to come out of college since Adrian Peterson. Peterson is also known for his strength and punishing running style, but he is 6'1". Based on Richardson's ranking on the various draft scouting reports, his height will not scare a lot of teams away. Recent success of smaller backs Maurice Jones-Drew (5'7"), and Darren Sproles (5'6")might be having an effect.

However, there is a sense that picking a running back in the first round is rolling the dice. Most backs have short careers and often very good ones are found pretty far down the draft order. Still, since Richardson is so clearly this year's leading running back prospect, if he does fall down the list, it probably will not be by much.

Richardson has two daughters who were born while he was in high school. His mother, Katrina Richardson, had three biological sons and also adopted three more--one of whom has lived with Trent. The Richardsons lived in a Pensacola housing project. Trent Richardson is known to have an incredible work ethic and had a 3.26 GPA at Alabama. For a personal story on Richardson see Mark Schlabach's ESPN article.

Image Above: Richardson's University of Alabama School Photo.

Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Patrick McCaskey's Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books. Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout is a personal chronicle of Chicago Bears Senior Director Patrick McCaskey that looks back at decades of spiritual enrichment and life lessons from athletes, coaches, religious and everyday people. McCaskey recalls the stories of those who strived to make the cut on and off the field—plus people who left comfortable lives to serve the under-served in extraordinary ways.

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