Rookie running back Daryl Richardson has been one of the biggest surprises from the 2012 draft class. How did he by so many other teams?
What I'm about to say, er, write will shock you. Sometimes, NFL draft analysts are wrong. One rookie proving them wrong so far this season is St. Louis Rams running back Daryl Richardson. The speedy seventh-round pick is fourth among all rookies with 355 rushing yards, averaging 5.4 yards per carry thanks to his ability to break off big plays. Draftniks wrote him back in the spring.
Dane Brugler from CBS shared some thoughts on Richardson:
At 5-10 and 192 pounds, Richardson didn't impress NFL teams with his size or minimal strength, creating doubt that he would be able to hold up at the next level - one of the reasons why he was drafted so late on draft weekend. And while workload is still a concern moving forward, Richardson's production has been steady through the first half of the season.
Richardson is firmly entrenched into a time-share with Steven Jackson. That's not likely to change given Richardson's youthful explosiveness and the veteran's lack thereof.
The size issue isn't going to go away. Carrying the ball 12-15 times a game has been perfect for Richardson. Carrying the ball 25 times a game might be a tougher sell.
To be clear, Richardson is not in the same class as a younger SJ39 or a Trent Richardson. The Rams rookie is more of a singular player, a guy whose athletic ability makes him a solid one-cut runner. He knows how to hit his hole and stay with it, versus someone like SJ in his prime that could freelance his way into a big run. It doesn't make Richardson any less valuable to the Rams, and in fact, they should probably be getting him the ball more.
More than a few scouting departments got it wrong, thinking they could nab the young man from Abilene Christian with a UDFA offer. The Rams gambled and took him with a draft pick, the same thing they did with Greg Zuerlein. Good thing not all of the scouting departments wrote off the little engine that could.