Trent Richardson was traded to the Indianapolis Colts yesterday for a 2014 first round pick. This trade baffles me, as the Browns will almost certainly fail to regain a pick of similar value to the pick with which Richardson was selected. With that said, the Rams could surely use more certainty at running back and Richardson seems like the type of back Fisher would have loved to add. It seems obvious that, had Richardson fallen to the 6th overall pick in the 2012 draft, the Rams would have wasted little time in selecting him. So why would the Rams hesitate to relinquish their 2014 first round pick to add him now? With over a day to ponder the Richardson trade, I have determined three possible reasons that Trent Richardson is not a Ram.
The first reason that comes to mind is that Trent Richardson is not as good as many think he is. I feel that Richardson is an elite combination of power running, elusiveness, pass catching, and pass blocking. He has had little to work with in Cleveland, limiting his opportunities to showcase his abilities. There have certainly been flashes of his abilities, namely in his games against Cincinnati, San Diego, and Baltimore last year. On top of all of that, he is only 23 years old. Richardson flaws appear to lie in that he has proven to be somewhat injury prone and he is only averaging around 3.5 career ypc. With all of his potential and his limited sample size, it is hard to put a lot of stock into this being the reason that the Rams did not pursue Trent. He appeared to be a target of the Rams in the 2012 draft and I find it hard to believe that his stock has fallen off so dramatically that they wouldn't have given up a (likely) later first round pick for him a year later.
The next possible reason is that the Browns have such a horribly run front office that they opted against shopping Richardson around and decided instead to jump, without hesitation, on the Colts "tremendous" offer. I do not believe any professional front office would have taken this rout, especially considering T-Rich contains perceived "top 3 pick" value. I do, however, find it hard to believe that a first round pick from a playoff contender was the best they could get for Richardson. Would the Rams have hesitated to throw in a 7th rounder with the deal? I'm not so sure...
The last and most likely reason that Richardson isn't wearing horns is that the Rams' front office is truly comfortable without the primary, workhorse running back. Fisher and Snead stated repeatedly that they were comfortable with their RB committee when they parted ways with Jackson and this move, or lack thereof, confirms those statements in my mind. Darryl Richardson has, confusingly, been getting a lot of run at what appears to be the primary running back position, but the front office has been firm since the end of last season that they were going to be operating as a committee and it is logical to take them at their word.
There are a few other possibilities that I have thought of and likely some I haven't. The Rams may have other plans with their two first round picks, though my argument would be that when you get the chance to acquire what was a top 3 pick last year for what will likely be a mid first round pick next year, you take it! The argument can also be made that the running back position is not worth a first round pick in this era of the NFL, which is why Snead passed on Richardson. I am aware that the league is trending away from running backs and that trend is evident in the fact that there were no first round running baks in the 2013 draft. With that said, there were no running backs in the 2013 draft with the ability that Trent possesses and if the Rams' FO was willing to part with the 6th pick in the 2012 draft for him (and by all accounts they were), a middling first round pick should not have been any obstacle in obtaining the player.
Anyway, thats my spiel. Tell me what you think!