Trent Richardson gained 1679 yards and scored 21 touchdowns on 283 carries in 2011. (AP)The video went viral just as soon as Alabama's Thursday Pro Day let out -- running back Trent Richardson blocking with great authority three unfortunate souls holding pads during his workout on the 'Bama campus. The unsuspecting victims -- including Cleveland Browns running backs coach Gary Brown -- got a very close look at a 5-foot-9, 227-pound back who runs like the wind and hits the pads like a linebacker.
Richardson explained his impressive outburst thusly: "Any time someone's in my way, I'm going to try to knock them over. Either they're going to hit me or I'm going to hit them. So, nine times out of 10, I'm trying to throw the lick."
Indeed. Add in the speed that had him timed at 4.45-4.49 in the 40-yard dash, and Richardson looked every bit the top-five prospect he looked to be through Alabama's 2011 season. Some believe Richardson to be the most complete running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, who was selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2007 draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
It's very possible that Richardson could go even higher. The Cleveland Browns (fourth overall pick) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (fifth) have been linked to Richardson as possible destinations, and according to Alabama head coach Nick Saban, the draft's new salary structure could make the selection of a running back that high an appealing idea - especially when a player of Richardson's talent is the target.
"I think he's probably the best running back in the draft this year," Saban said. "Probably one of the best players in the draft. I think that's based on his performance and his production and his consistency he's played with. The personal characteristics he has in terms of psychological disposition to be successful, which is really A-plus.
"I know there are some people that have some concerns about taking a running back high but with the salary-cap changes in the rookie pool, you're not investing as much in a guy as you used to."
Investment or not, both the Browns and Bucs need a franchise back.Read More »from Trent Richardson pancakes the NFL at Alabama’s Pro Day