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Old 02-07-2012, 12:01 PM    (permalink
Dan_Steele
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Default The RB Debate

Trent Richardson is clearly the most talented runningback in this year's draft. Looking at the curret NFL landscape, there are only a few RB's that are truly every-down play-makers (i.e. worthy of a top 10-15 pick). They are as follows...

- Adrian Peterson (2007, Round 1, Pick 7)
- Maurice-Jones Drew (2006, Round 2)
- Ray Rice (2008, Round 2)
- LeSean McCoy (2009, Round 2)
- Arian Foster (2009, Undrafted)
- Matt Forte (2008, Round 2)

Several key debates when considering drafting Trent Richardson with a high first round draft pick...

1.) Value - Yes he is a very talented player, has all the tools you look for in an All-Pro type of runningback. However, is he worth taking if your team has other pressing needs. Would you pass on a great left tackle or defensive end for a runningback, even if the runningback was indeed a better prospect?

2.) Today's NFL - Its a cliche, but its true, it a quarterback driven league. This pas season epitomized that, with several quarterbacks surpassing 5,000 yards. Some of the best teams this year had less-than-elite running games -NY Giants, Packers, Lions. Even the teams that did have success running the ball this year hardly used one back. The Saints and Patriots, who use the pass to set up the run, had moderate success running the football but used a specialist committee type of RB corps.

3.) Short Life-Span - The lifespan of a runningback, at the top of his game, i far shorter than any other position in football. We've seen rapid decline of stars as of late. Peyton Hillis, Chris Johnson (could just be attitude here), Brandon Jacobs, Jonathan Stewart. Some bodies just can't take the beating over an extended period of time. The past few years have proven that turnover at the position is at a premium, a good percentage of guys hardly even make it out of their rookie contract as the same player.

4.) Ability to Find a Good Player Later - The list above is mainly second round players, Arian Foster was undrafted. It is clear that as long as you find a good enough athlete for the scheme, than you can make him into a good runningback. Don't get me wrong, AP is incredible and worth the early pick used on him, a bonified star, future HOF type of player. But for every AP, there is a Darren McFadden, good player who just can't stay on the field. For a team with several needs, it may not be worth the risk to draft a runningback over another need. For example, the most impressive rookie RBs this past season were DeMarco Murray and Roy Helu, third and fifth round picks respectively. Their impact greatly surpassed many backs picked earlier such as Ingram, LeShoure, and Williams. Granted, this was mostly due to injury and we'll see who has a better long career, but it is clear that success can be had running the ball with out spending a first round draft pick.

Let me know what you think. Would you draft Trent Richardson with a high draft pick? Would you draft any runningback in the Top 10 anymore?
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:15 PM    (permalink
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3.) Short Life-Span - The lifespan of a runningback, at the top of his game, i far shorter than any other position in football. We've seen rapid decline of stars as of late. Chris Johnson (could just be attitude here)

Let me know what you think. Would you draft Trent Richardson with a high draft pick? Would you draft any runningback in the Top 10 anymore?
Chris suffered from a holdout and poor line play. I fully expect him to be back with 1300+ yards next season.

As for your point, that's what I've been stressing all along. RB's need pieces around them just as the QB does, they need the O-Line and even WR's so they have at least the threat of a pass. When all those pieces aren't there it hinders the RB's ability to be special.

RB's can be had late, it's been made evident for years. The Giants just won the super bowl with a 4th and 7th rounder respectively as their top 2 RB's.

There's a lot of talent late at RB this year, I really like Doug Martin and Cyrus Gray as guys who could become #1 backs in the league.

Would I take Richardson top 10? No. Why? Every team has bigger needs than a RB and I think a Lamar Miller or Doug Martin in Round 2 will be more ready to contribute than other players you get there

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Old 02-07-2012, 12:25 PM    (permalink
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I would not take a running back in the top 10 unless it was a seriously weak year at other positions, I had no major needs, and there's an RB who's a legitimate "once-in-a-generation" kind of prospect.

The RB is one of the most fungible and short-lived positions in all of football, and "high end running games" are often predicated on high quality OL play, anyway.

I'd say in terms of positional value, RBs are down there with Safeties, 3-4 ILBs, 4-3 OLBs, TEs, and OGs, none of which are positions that regularly go in the top 10. This year, unless I'm really, really set at G, I would be tempted to take David DeCastro over Trent Richardson.
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Old 02-07-2012, 12:52 PM    (permalink
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safety or tight end isn't a highly valued position either but a player like Eric Berry or Vernon Davis can be an elite pick.

it depends on how rare he is (times)

if he runs a 4.3 or 4.4 then yes he deserves to go high

if he runs a 4.5 or 4.6 then no he doesn't.
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:04 PM    (permalink
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If you think he's top 5 all around RB in the NFL caliber (which I do), I'd have no problem taking him high.
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:36 PM    (permalink
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If you think he's top 5 all around RB in the NFL caliber (which I do), I'd have no problem taking him high.
Well, that's not really the issue. I mean, even if I think Richardson can be a top 5 RB in the NFL, that doesn't mean I would take him before a QB who I think can be top 5 in the NFL, a WR I think can be top 5 in the NFL, a offensive lineman I think can be top 5 in the NFL, a pass rusher I think can be top 5 in the NFL, etc.

I think running back is a position you only take high now if the RB on the board when you pick is a grade above everybody available at more important positions.
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:33 PM    (permalink
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If you think he's top 5 all around RB in the NFL caliber (which I do), I'd have no problem taking him high.
I have to agree. This kid is special, he's the best prospect we've seen enter the draft since Peterson imo. I love his style of running and his hands are good too. Top 10 lock for me, if I was picking at 10 and this gold mine fell in my lap I'd jump for joy.
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Old 02-07-2012, 07:23 PM    (permalink
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I have to agree. This kid is special, he's the best prospect we've seen enter the draft since Peterson imo. I love his style of running and his hands are good too. Top 10 lock for me, if I was picking at 10 and this gold mine fell in my lap I'd jump for joy.
While Richardson may well be the best RB prospect since Peterson, or even a better player, I simply have difficulty justifying spending a top 10 pick due to the fact that I have trouble envisioning either a successful NFL offense being heavily predicated on running the ball, or a running back being the key cog which turns around a bad team.

I mean, as good as Peterson has been, the only year the Vikings really were serious challengers for the title was the year that Brett Favre played out of his mind.

It seems like the primary role of a running game in the modern NFL is to cover up the deficiencies of your passing game, and you're not a serious threat to win championships unless you have a high octane passing game. So IMO, when I have a premium pick, I spend it on pieces that either directly improve the passing game, or on pieces that inhibit other people's passing games. In other words: to win, you have to pass the ball and stop the pass.

A top running back is nice, but I don't know if it really helps you that much in the long run.
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:13 PM    (permalink
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I think the biggest thing with Trent going high isn't just the talent (which by itself is worth a top 15 pick even with his position included), but he's a guy who will be able to carry the load, and should be able to do it for a decent amount of time because his insane build but also his running style. There will be other running backs in this draft that will be able to put up the stats he does in this draft in certain years, but with Trent you'll get the consistently great production. Peterson, McFadden and Richardson are the only backs I'd take top 10 in the last 5 years, though I like the longevity of Trent a lot more than the other two.
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Old 02-07-2012, 02:00 PM    (permalink
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I think the biggest thing with Trent going high isn't just the talent (which by itself is worth a top 15 pick even with his position included), but he's a guy who will be able to carry the load, and should be able to do it for a decent amount of time because his insane build but also his running style. There will be other running backs in this draft that will be able to put up the stats he does in this draft in certain years, but with Trent you'll get the consistently great production. Peterson, McFadden and Richardson are the only backs I'd take top 10 in the last 5 years, though I like the longevity of Trent a lot more than the other two.
I agree with every word in this post.
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Old 02-07-2012, 02:34 PM    (permalink
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I think the biggest thing with Trent going high isn't just the talent (which by itself is worth a top 15 pick even with his position included), but he's a guy who will be able to carry the load, and should be able to do it for a decent amount of time because his insane build but also his running style. There will be other running backs in this draft that will be able to put up the stats he does in this draft in certain years, but with Trent you'll get the consistently great production. Peterson, McFadden and Richardson are the only backs I'd take top 10 in the last 5 years, though I like the longevity of Trent a lot more than the other two.
Most definitely. AD had injury concerns over his collarbone when he was drafted plus his upright running style leaves him open to bigger hits.

McFadden has chicken legs and hasn't been able to stay healthy since he was drafted.

Richardson is ridiculous. His build kind of reminds me of MJD only he is taller. Similar guys with huge legs who run low to the ground. But he is faster than Jones Drew with better hands. That's a scary thought. He is taller, faster, better at catching than arguably the leagues best RB.

A lot of RBs in the league have success due to scheme fits etc but Richardson is one of the few guys you can build a scheme around.

The problem with drafting him is the fact that few teams can win with just a running game now. Jacksonville were terrible but MJD had a great year. Look at the Rams with Steven Jackson. If I am a bad team, I want to get more players who can help at more valuable positions.

The best value for Richardson is in the teens. KC, NYJ, Cincy could all be big players and would be great fits.
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:40 PM    (permalink
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McFadden has chicken legs and hasn't been able to stay healthy since he was drafted.
Are you saying the chicken legs are why he can't stay healthy? Or are you saying he doesn't play well because he has chicken legs PLUS he can't stay healthy?
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Old 02-07-2012, 03:29 PM    (permalink
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Richardson is worth a top 10 pick, and will be a Pro Bowl RB as long as he doesn't blow out a knee. He won't Adrian Peterson, but I can see be on the same level as MJD has been playing at the past few seasons. I think the Bucs might be his landing spot if they miss out on Claiborne. Also could see a team like the Jets or Bengals trading up for Richardson if he falls out of the top 10.

I like Lamar Miller most after Richardson with Wilson, James and Martin the RB's likely to be taken after the top 2. Miller can go anywhere from 17-30's IMO, depending on how much the Bengals like him since they need to get a RB.
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Old 02-07-2012, 03:51 PM    (permalink
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- Adrian Peterson (2007, Round 1, Pick 7)
- Maurice-Jones Drew (2006, Round 2)
- Ray Rice (2008, Round 2)
- LeSean McCoy (2009, Round 2)
- Arian Foster (2009, Undrafted)
- Matt Forte (2008, Round 2)
Here's something I believe needs to be taken into consideration: Those RBs don't have that many combined playoff wins. I'm not saying they are causing their teams not to win playoff games, but that there's not much of a correlation between having a 'stud' RB and winning in the playoffs. This year we once again saw teams in the Super Bowl that were starting RBs who weren't drafted anywhere near the top of the draft. That doesn't seem unusual. It's nice to have a top RB, but under most scenarios I'd rather take a top QB, LT, edge rusher, or DT. Other positions like WR and CB are at least debatable as positions I'd rather use a high Draft pick on.
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Old 02-07-2012, 07:34 PM    (permalink
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Here's something I believe needs to be taken into consideration: Those RBs don't have that many combined playoff wins. I'm not saying they are causing their teams not to win playoff games, but that there's not much of a correlation between having a 'stud' RB and winning in the playoffs. This year we once again saw teams in the Super Bowl that were starting RBs who weren't drafted anywhere near the top of the draft. That doesn't seem unusual. It's nice to have a top RB, but under most scenarios I'd rather take a top QB, LT, edge rusher, or DT. Other positions like WR and CB are at least debatable as positions I'd rather use a high Draft pick on.
Ok Lets see here

AP got to a NFC championship game
Ray Rice has won many playoff games... Just lost in the AFC championship.
Matt Forte got to the NFC Championship last year
McCoy Lost Wild Card last year
Foster almost ran his team to the AFC championship this year

Only one who's on a very bad team MJD.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:00 PM    (permalink
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I think Trent Richardson, specifically, has just as much value as any of the top WR's in most year's drafts. I certainly believe he will contribute to drives / yards / touchdowns more than someone like Heyward-Bey, Crabtree, Ted Ginn Jr and possibly Blackmon who's also predicted to be drafted high.

He won't fix a franchise, no. Just like Calvin Johnson didn't fix the Lions or Joe Thomas didn't fix the Browns. Both of those guys were elite type prospects that went to bad teams that continued to be bad. Once the Lions threw some talent around Megatron he looked exactly like all the potential he had when he was drafted. And once the Browns get a QB for Joe Thomas to protect, they'll have a good team as well.

Also, as far as the "Life-span" of a halfback's career is concerned, if I'm a GM or a coach in charge of building a roster, I'm not thinking about 10 years down the line. If I don't build a contender within 2-3 years, my job and possibly entire career is in jeopardy. I'm going to grab the best QB I can find, then surround him with the most talented players as quickly as possible.
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Old 02-07-2012, 07:36 PM    (permalink
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Trent Richardson is a very special and unique prospect. He is ten times the prospect than any of the guys mentioned with the exception of Adrian Peterson. Despite the recent trend of passing oriented offenses, there are some teams that find success with the run first mentality. The Vikings had a huge year when they actually had legit QB play. The Falcons, Texans, and Ravens have also managed to find success operating as run first teams in this league that is increasingly focusing on the air attack.

With that said, I think whether or not Richardson goes in the top 10 is mainly going to depend on what he runs in the 40. If he can break a 4.4, then I see no reason why a team like Cleveland or Tampa Bay will pass up on him. Even if he doesn't, he's still got a good shot. He's just that good of a talent at RB.
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Old 02-07-2012, 07:46 PM    (permalink
JoeJoeBrown
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Trent Richardson is a very special and unique prospect. He is ten times the prospect than any of the guys mentioned with the exception of Adrian Peterson. Despite the recent trend of passing oriented offenses, there are some teams that find success with the run first mentality. The Vikings had a huge year when they actually had legit QB play. The Falcons, Texans, and Ravens have also managed to find success operating as run first teams in this league that is increasingly focusing on the air attack.

With that said, I think whether or not Richardson goes in the top 10 is mainly going to depend on what he runs in the 40. If he can break a 4.4, then I see no reason why a team like Cleveland or Tampa Bay will pass up on him. Even if he doesn't, he's still got a good shot. He's just that good of a talent at RB.
I like the idea of him in Cleveland. A lot.
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Old 02-07-2012, 07:45 PM    (permalink
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The rule I have is this... If you don't have a QB you go get one and pay whatever the price is for it. You do not draft a RB top in the top ten if your still looking for a QB, but if you have a QB then why not draft a RB if he's BPA.

Also a running game is a best friend to a young QB.

Look at what big time running backs can do with big time QB's

Manning and James
Rivers and LT
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:28 PM    (permalink
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I like that Idea that Bengalsrocket Said that you need a QB First then get players around him. I think if a Team like the Bengals were to Trade up to get him then that would be a Perfect Fit plus you already have the QB/WR and now that they have a RB they could really Challenge for the AFC North Title with an Aging Ravens/Steelers plus a Browns team that's not very good.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:32 PM    (permalink
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If the Browns took Richardson, I think Colt McCoy would suddenly look like a very capable NFL starter.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:33 PM    (permalink
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Just let him fall to 16.
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:43 PM    (permalink
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If the Browns took Richardson, I think Colt McCoy would suddenly look like a very capable NFL starter.
No, he wouldn't.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:21 PM    (permalink
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I may be way off base here, but I worry about Trent Richardson's ability to stay healthy in the NFL. I think his muscularity could lead to him being more susceptible to injury. He does run very low which helps his cause a lot, but I think he is sometimes too willing to take on defenders when he runs.

That being said, based on talent, he's a top 10 pick.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:45 PM    (permalink
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I'm still of the believe the Bengals should move up for him.
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