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Draft Talk: The Wild Card, Trent Richardson

Are The Cowboys Looking At Trent Richardson?

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Last year a hot name during the draft process was Alabama running back Mark Ingram. Ingram was often compared to former Cowboys great, #22 Emmitt Smith. After selecting USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith with the 9th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, Jerry Jones attempted to deal back into the first round for a running back.

Here is what Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas had to say.

"The Cowboys were looking to upgrade the running back position and in reality wanted to draft Alabama’s Mark Ingram if they had been able to make that trade with Jacksonville," Watkins writes. "The Cowboys would have used that second second-round pick and gotten back in the first round with the goal of getting Ingram."

Here is what Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones had to say.

Teams weren’t "willing to take what we were willing to pay," owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "It was definitely a consideration."

So there was some confirmation that the Cowboys were willing to trade back into the first round. Some speculate that it was for Alabama running back Mark Ingram, who went 28th overall to the New Orleans Saints after the Saints made a trade with the New England Patriots.

I find it interesting that for two years in a row, Bill Bellicheck passed on premier talents in Dez Bryant and Mark Ingram. Bellicheck, who is of course in the Super Bowl, may be the epitome of the trade down and stock picks theory. But I do find it interesting that Bellicheck could have had the #1 WR and #1 RB from each draft class on his already talented roster.

Others speculated the Cowboys were trading back into the first round for Cal defensive lineman Cam Jordan (24th overall) or Muhammad Wilkerson (30th overall).

The Cowboys went on to find one of the biggest steals of the entire 2011 NFL Draft with their 3rd round selection.

"This draft is deep in running backs," Jones said. "Not to say they’re deep in running backs like Mark Ingram, but they’re deep in running backs. We’re going to have opportunities to draft a running back."

Jerry Jones was spot on with this statement. The Cowboys drafted Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray with the 71st pick of the NFL Draft. Murray went on to be one of the best rookies in the entire draft class and displayed his big play ability once Felix Jones went down yet again.

If you want to have a good time, go back and search the comment thread on here at BTB during the Murray pick. People were ready to jump off a bridge when his name was announced. I embraced the pick because I really believed Dallas had landed a talented player.

DeMarco Murray looks like he will be the future at running back for the Dallas Cowboys. Felix Jones, even though I really love the kid, I still label him as a bust. Regardless of how I feel about Felix's draft status, the fact remains that he is a really talented running back. The only problem I have with Felix is that he consistently gets injured.

The combination of Murray and Jones may be one of the leagues best. Raf and KC Joyner had an interesting conversation about the pair on Cowboys Nation the other day.

http://www.cowboysnation.com/2012/01/joyner-murray-and-jones-elite-duo.html

Murray and Felix are more than capable of winning a Super Bowl for the Cowboys. Both have great speed and can take a play to the house at any given moment. The only problem we may have with them is durability. At one point, we were down to Sammy Morris this season. I never want to see that happen again.

So this is where Trent Richardson comes into play. Many have asked me, "Hey Chia, what happens if Trent Richardson falls to us at 14?".

My answer? You draft him.

Running back isn't exactly a position of need, I think most of us can distinguish the need for a cornerback over a running back. But Richardson might be such a premier talent that the Cowboys couldn't afford to pass on him. I believe that Richardson will be a great player in the NFL, yes even better than Mark Ingram.

It might come down to the Cowboys board. You hear people all the time talk about "staying true to your board", and this is one case where staying true to your board might come into play. Where will the Cowboys rank Trent Richardson on their draft board? I would imagine in the top ten, I currently have Richardson ranked as my 6th best player.

The decision to draft Richardson won't sit well with many of you. I imagine most have stopped reading this post all together and will decide to ignore this topic. I wrote similar articles last year about Cam Newton and Mark Ingram, because we have to talk about the possibilities of certain highly regarded prospects falling to us. They may not be needs, but sometimes building a football team up with top tier talent is just something that has to be done.

I am not saying we should go out and draft Trent Richardson. I would prefer Melvin Ingram or Janoris Jenkins because they present us with optimum talent at positions of a truer need. But if the Cowboys did draft Richardson, I wouldn't be too mad. It's never a bad idea to add a dynamic top tier football talent to your team.

Trent Richardson

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The first thing that might interest some Cowboys fans is where Richardson went to high school. Yup, Richardson grew up in the same area Emmitt Smith did, Pensacola, Florida.

Richardson is a well put together running back, standing in at 5'11 and 224 pounds. He has a short, stocky build and is rock solid. He has some of the biggest arms I have ever seen for a man 5'11. When he is healthy, he is one of the hardest players to bring down in football. Not only does Richardson have a muscular frame up top, he also has legs like rocks.

The weight room must be a second home to Trent Richardson. You can just tell physically that he has put in hours of time in there and those hours have paid off. If you hit him up high, you better bring your best because he will just bounce off of you. If you hit him low, you better hold on and hope a second guy gets in quickly to finish him off. Richardson breaks so many tackles and I have not witnessed something like that since Adrian Peterson when he was at Oklahoma.

Trent Richardson "The Beast" (via rera0602randy)

He reminds me of Adrian Peterson, but he also reminds me of a Cowboys running back who was real good in his prime, Marion Barber. Richardson has the same type of build Barber did, stocky and muscular. Much like Marion Barber, Richardson is not shy on the football field. He loves to make contact and get physical. This is one area that Richardson will have to improve on because of the rigorous position running back has become. It's something that the team who drafts him will have to deal with. It's not easy telling a force of nature to tone it down.

Richardson is one of the most unique physical specimens I have seen recently. He has that rare combination of strength and speed. Richardson may not run a low 4.4 40 yard dash at the combine, but he will run well enough to show his athleticism. His burst is top notch and he can come flying out of the backfield.

His combination of speed, power, athleticism, vision, and patience make him one of the very few elite running backs who can be drafted in the top ten anymore. When you are compared to Adrian Peterson, that is a huge comparison to live up to.

Wes Bunting on Trent Richardson.

The best running back prospect I've seen since Adrian Peterson. His running style might limit his shell life a bit in the NFL. However, he's the kind of back you can ride like a rented mule from day one and should become one of the NFL's top runners early on.

At the end of the day, Trent Richardson is the complete package folks. He is a rock solid physical specimen and has a top notch burst. His vision is excellent and he can be patient when waiting for blockers. He is an all around great running back, who can also catch the ball very well. That was one area I think he really worked at improving this year while at Alabama.

The one thing I want to say about Richardson is that he hasn't had a total workload in college. This is the one positive of being behind Ingram for a few years. That kept his workload down and NFL teams are starting to look for guys with less mileage.

His rushing totals at Alabama.

  • 2011- 283 carries, 1679 yards, 5.9 YPC, 21 TD
  • 2010- 112 carries, 700 yards, 6.3 YPC, 6 TD
  • 2009- 145 carries, 751 yards, 5.2 YPC, 8 TD
His receiving totals at Alabama.
  • 2011- 29 REC, 338 yards, 3 TD
  • 2010- 23 REC, 266 yards, 4 TD
  • 2009- 16 REC, 126 yards, 0 TD

Drafting Richardson wouldn't fill any holes on the offensive line or defense, trust me I understand that. I highly doubt Richardson falls to 14 anyway, but you are seeing the value of running backs go down in the draft. It is very rare anymore that we see a running back go in the top 10, but Richardson is one of those rare players who should be drafted high.

It would also be an interesting trade chip for the Cowboys, even though I hate trading down. But a team with multiple draft picks like the Browns or Bengals could offer us a handsome reward for Trent Richardson and his services. So that is another scenario to keep in mind.

Honestly, I wouldn't be too upset if the Cowboys drafted Richardson. He might be rated so high on their board that it would be pretty stupid to not draft him just because we have needs at other positions. I am all about adding great football players to my team, and Trent Richardson is a great football player.

Imagine how good our run game would be then. Richardson could be the premier running back we haven't had since Emmitt Smith. I love DeMarco Murray, but it's too early to say he is going to be great. We did the same thing with Julius Jones and boy I hated how that worked out. Felix Jones is a free agent after this season and has the injury prone issues that we dread. Hopefully DeMarco Murray doesn't become another injury prone running back, that would be a disaster.

All of these unknowns make Richardson an interesting option for the Cowboys at 14. If the next Adrian Peterson or Emmitt Smith is waiting for us at 14, we may have to pull the trigger. They call him the "Beast" and "Freak" for a reason. I wouldn't mind having this guy in our backfield for the next ten years, that is why I wouldn't mind if the Cowboys drafted him.

So have at it, I know this will be a highly debated topic leading up until the draft.

Sports Science: Trent Richardson (via 123abc321qwerty)

Trent Richardson Highlights 2011 (via Matthew420Ussery)

Ultimate Trent Richardson Highlights (via TheVikingsworld2011)

Trent Richardson Highlights 2011 (via TheU305Miami)


Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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