We'll Pass On Trent Richardson, Thanks

I've had it. I can't take it anymore. I would rather talk to Steeler fans. Ok, maybe not that far.

I can't take another "mock draft" with the Browns taking Trent Richardson. I'm thisclose to punching my monitor. So I am writing this so hopefully Todd McShay will have someone read this to him (I'm not totally sure he can actually read).

The Browns don't need Trent Richardson. The Browns don't need a big time running back period. Why? I'm glad you asked.

Reason One: The 300+ carry RB is dying in this league

In 2001, 10 different RB's had 300 carries on the season. This season? Two. MJD and Micheal Turner. And it's nothing something sudden. Look at the year by year break down:

13 in '03, 9 in '04, 10 in '05, 10 in '06, 6 in '07, 5 in '08, 6 in '09 and 7 in '10

So why the drop to 2 this season? Because this is a copy cat league. Best offenses in the NFL this season? Saints, Packers and Patriots. What do they all have? RB committees. Specialized guys that are used in ways that best suits their talents. By the way, look at the RB's those teams have. Only one first rounder among them (Mark Ingram in NO) and you could make a case that he was the least valuable of all the Saints RB's.

The days of riding a RB to a title are gone. With all the rule changes in today's NFL, it's easier to take advantage of a defense through the air.

Reason Two: Building an offense around a RB is a dangerous gamble

No position in the NFL takes the beating a RB does. 20 carries and 20 blocks a game equals a lot of time in the tub. I think we all know the 30 year old rule for RB's. As soon as you draft a RB, the clock is already ticking.

So let's say you build an offense around an All-World RB. For instance, let's use Adrian Peterson. You ride AP to 4.8 YPC and use him as the War Hammer of the North. But he gets worn down and gets a high ankle sprain. Now you have an offense centered around Toby Gerhardt. You're screwed. I don't care if it is for 3 weeks, that is 3 weeks you aren't going to win. That is the danger of building your offense around the most demanding position in the game.

Now look at the Saints. Chris Ivory on PUP? No big deal. Mark Ingram gets turf toe and misses the final four games of the season? No big deal. Plug in Darren Sproles. Mix in a bit of Pierre Thomas. Average 39 points a game. Profit.

No matter how good a RB is, he is a rolled ankle away from spinning your team into a 3 game funk.

On the other hand, Quarterbacks are protected like no other. Can't hit them high. Can't hit them low. Can't even graze their head. Sure Quarterbacks still get hurt, but let's compare the list of injured RB's vs. QB's. (And I'm only mentioned guys that were starters)

RB's: Darren McFadden (almost too easy), Arian Foster, Mark Ingram, Fred Jackson, Matt Forte, DeMarco Murray, Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, Peyton Hillis, Rashad Mendenhall, Joesph Addai, Knowshon Moreno, Ahmad Bradshaw, LeSean McCoy (end of the season), Jahvid Best, Ryan Williams and Ryan Grant.

QB's: Jay Cutler, Colt McCoy, Chad Henne, Matt Schuab, Peyton Manning, Jason Campbell, Mike Vick, Tony Romo, Kevin Kolb, Tavaris Jackson and Sam Bradford. (I would argue that only 4 of these guys would be considered good)

Look at the difference. It's almost two to one. Why put your eggs in a basket that in all likelihood is going to break at some point?

Reason Three: The passing game in the NFL is getting too easy

I touched on this earlier, but it's not a coincidence that NFL passing records are being crushed. The rules are just making it almost too easy for teams to rack up the passing yards.

WR's not being touched after 5 yards. Spot fouls for PI (Not new, but seems to be called much more now). The aforementioned QB roughing rules. Easier grounding rules for QB's. The "defenseless receiver" rules.

Passing offenses are waaaay ahead of defenses, and it doesn't look like it is going to change anytime soon. Out of all the teams in the playoffs, do you see any team that has a legit chance to win the Super Bowl that is a run first team? Baltimore? Sweet, all we need is a defense filled with 3 Hall of Fame defenders. That helps. (Plus, I guessing that their inability to pass will kill them once they face a good team, just like it did last season).

Over the past few years Pittsburgh has made the change to a pass first team. It's possible to do in this division. Baltimore wants to but Flacco sucks. Cincy is making the leap from run first to pass first behind Dalton-to-Green, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Look at Detroit. No running attack to speak of, yet throws the ball over the field. The movement is happening.

Your Dad's NFL of running to set up the pass is dead. You pass to set up the pass, and run a draw just to keep them honest. So why in a league like this would you use a first round pick on a RB?

I will bet you a sandwich that this season's Super Bowl winner won't have a 1,000 yard rusher. Get used to it, because it's going to be the norm.

Conclusion:

I haven't even gotten into my manifesto of late round RB's. I figure I have beaten that topic to death and will spare you all the ramblings of mad man. So, the next time you see someone mock Trent Richardson to the Browns, ask that person to answer any one of these questions.

We'll take the QB or WR and plug and play RB's. We'll be much better off for it.

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