2012 NFL Mock Draft: Trent Richardson & The New Direction At Rams Park

Prediction is not the value in a 2012 NFL mock draft. The real beauty of the drafts is to generate discussion, dialog about the prospects and the teams that might consider drafting them. We all know that the St. Louis Rams need a receiver, a tackle and a heaping helping of talent all over the roster. Running back is a priority too, a player to complement Steven Jackson and take over in case of injury or the realities of the business.

This mock draft from the NFL Spin Zone (where's the NFL no-spin zone?), supposes the Rams trade down with the Browns to pick number four. With that pick the Rams select Alabama running back Trent Richardson, over Justin Blackmon, Morris Claiborne or any of the offensive tackles on the board after Kalil.

We need to start keeping an open mind about that possibility. Here's why.

New head coach Jeff Fisher and his offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer made it pretty clear that, first things first, they intend to run the ball and develop a tough offensive line.

Fisher drafted Chris Johnson in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft, with the 24th pick. He drafted Johnson in spite of having second-year running back LenDale White, a second-round pick in 2006, coming a season with 1,110 rushing yards.

A complementary pairing? Sure. White and CJ2K combined for 451 carries in 2008; Johnson had 251 of those carries. The next year, Johnson had 358 carries to White's 64. That same year they also drafted Javon Ringer in the fifth round. White was gone after that season.

Fisher has only drafted a running back once in the first round since Eddie George was the Oilers' first-round pick in 1996. He does have a history of replenishing his depth chart at running back, and with Steven Jackson turning 29 and having more than a 1,000 touches in the last three seasons, it's time to get a backup that can take over should the need arise.

The former regime at Rams Park had Alabama's Mark Ingram very high on their draft board last year, so high, in fact, that he was a very distinct possibility had Robert Quinn not fallen to the 14th spot.

Fisher has also taken a receiver in the first round, Kenny Britt with the 30th pick in 2009. He's leaned heavily in favor of defensive players throughout his draft history.

All of which is a really long winded way of saying don't bet against Trent Richardson being high up on the Rams draft board this year. I highly doubt he would be the pick at number two, but if the Rams do trade down, keep an eye on the situation. Anything can happen.

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