With the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns have an opportunity to draft a player that could be a real difference-maker and no player will make a bigger impact on this team than Alabama running back Trent Richardson.
At least no player that will be available. The top two difference-makers in this draft will both be gone by the time the Browns get to make their selection but drafting Richardson still gives the Browns a chance to fix one of their most glaring weaknesses from last season which was their porous running game.
The Browns ranked 28th in rushing last season and were dead last in rushing touchdowns scoring only four times last year. To make matters worse, the Browns didn’t resign their top running back from last season and failed to pick up anybody in free agency.
Having a solid running game in the AFC North division is a must. That would seem to go against logic since the other three teams in Cleveland’s division were all in the top-ten against the run but having a solid running game is the only way to keep those defenses honest.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals all love to stuff the run and put teams in obvious passing situations so they can tee off on the quarterback. And since teams didn’t have to worry about Cleveland’s run game, they were able to focus even more time towards making life miserable for Colt McCoy.
But even if Browns’ fans don’t see it, Browns’ management realizes that McCoy’s numbers would have been a whole lot better if he didn’t have to spend so much time running for his life. Even though his completion percentage and average yards per completion were down, McCoy didn’t throw interceptions as frequently as he did his rookie season.
He did fumble the ball a lot more though which was more a byproduct of him not having much time to operate in the pocket than of him just being careless with the ball. Having a back like Richardson to hand the ball off to will help to alleviate some of that.
But given more time to operate, McCoy may be able to prove to fans that he can get the job done. And if Richardson can make McCoy and Cleveland’s offense more effective, then he is well worth drafting.
Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at RHall_TPFB@Yahoo.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.