I understand the general consensus around here, at least for the most part, is that the Browns should pass on Trent Richardson with the No. 4 pick. I tend to agree with that sentiment. There is, however, one expert that could make me lighten up to the idea.
The NFL Network's draft analyst Mike Mayock had a lot of positives things to say about Trent Richardson and the running back's rising stock, according to a report by Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.
"Trent Richardson might be the best position player in this draft," Mayock said. "I watched 150 of his carries today. I watched every catch he made on tape today. . . . I watched every pass protection I could find in about a 10-game span, and he might be the best pass-protecting running back in this draft also. So when you talk about toughness and perhaps the best positional player in the entire draft, I think if he is available at No. 5, with that offensive line, they’ve got to pull the trigger."
Smith points out that a few weeks ago Mayock suggested that Richardson could potentially slip out of the top 10 because of the lower value on running backs in a league that is becoming more geared toward passing every season. Mayock has since changed his mind about Richardson after watching more tape.
"Boy was I wrong," Mayock said of suggesting Richardson might get out of the Top 10. "He’s going in the Top 10. Let’s face it, if the two quarterbacks [Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III] go 1-2, and the Vikings are not in the market for a tailback at No. 3 because of Adrian Peterson, this kid is going 4, 5 or 6. He’s the best tailback I’ve seen come out since the aforementioned Adrian Peterson. He brings toughness, he brings speed, he brings pass protection."
I know must of us here are well aware of the devaluing running back situation in the NFL. In fact, good cases have been made on exactly why the Browns should not draft Richardson. Although, when I read these kind of words from a trusted expert like Mayock, I do start to warm up to the idea of taking this running back. It's also worth noting, it doesn't have to be at No. 4 either. There's still the possibility of the Browns trading down a few picks and still being able to land Richardson.
The fact remains, the Browns already abysmal offense still has a gaping hole at running back right now. I'd still prefer we stay No. 4 to pick Justin Blackmon, but if we're offered a deal we can't refuse to move down and Richardson falls to us at the new pick, I'll be fine with it, which is something I wouldn't have said a day ago.