NEWS:

Well it wasn’t pretty but the Alabama Crimson Sabans utilized their strong running game and suffocating defense to overwhelm LSU for the National Championship. Trent Richardson ran for 98 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter . In the first meeting with LSU, Richardson flashed his dual threat ability totaling 89 yards on the ground while adding another 80 yards receiving.

The 2011 Alabama offense ran through Junior RB Trent Richardson who finished this season with 1,679 yards (5.9 YPC) and 21 TDs rushing. All signs point to the Heisman finalist declaring for the draft as his stock is climbing and many label him a top 10 pick.

PLAYER HIGHLIGHTS

VIEWS:

MyNFLDraft.com profiles RB Trent Richardson and labels him as the clear-cut #1 RB prospect based on his size/speed combo and experience facing SEC defenses.

WalterFootball.com lists Richardson as the #1 RB prospect and a top 15 pick in the upcoming draft .

Jeff Christiansen (FFToolbox.com) projects the Alabama RB will hear his name called at #4 as he becomes a member of the Cleveland Browns (Peyton Hillis is a free agent).

FANTASY FOOTBALL SPIN:

Despite playing the shadows of 2010 Heisman award winner Mark Ingram many are expecting Richardson to have more success at the next level.

At 5’11, 224 pounds he has ideal size and should be able to step right in his rookie season as a 20-carry RB. There are multiple teams looking for a true workhorse back and the Doak Walker award winner (best RB in the nation) is very likely to hear his name called in the first half of next April’s draft.

The Pensacola, Fla., native led the SEC and ranked 5th in the nation with 132 rushing YPG. He is also an adequate receiver (27 catches for 327 yards and three touchdowns) and proved to be solid in pass protection. Richardson also played some in the return game and has accounted for 1,976 all-purpose yards this season (165 YPG). Playing in the SEC makes Richardson’s production even more impressive as he  has faced seven of the nation’s top-50 defenses during the 2011 season.

There will be no shortage of teams that will be targeting Richardson especially those that finished in the bottom 10 in the league in rushing YPG (Arizona, Seattle, Washington, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Cincinnati, Denver, St Louis, Green Bay, and Detroit). 

Possible Destinations:

Cleveland: The Browns ranked 20th in rushing and will likely part with Madden cover boy Peyton Hillis. Second year RB Montario Hardesty can’t seem to stay healthy so the Browns could very well use the 4th overall pick on a franchise RB if they decide that RG3 is not the answer as Colt McCoy’s successor.

Tampa Bay: The Bucs are still in search of Raheem Morris’ replacement but it’s very possible that the new coaching staff won’t be overly enamored with Legarrette Blount’s production (averaged less than 3 YPC in the final 5 games of 2011).  Blount caught only 12 passes this past season. A ground game upgrade is needed if Tampa expects to jump start their anemic offense and using their 5th overall pick on Richardson might be just what the doctor ordered.

Washington:  Mike Shanahan holds the #6 pick and many speculate that he could be in search of the next Terrell Davis. Despite the emergence of Roy Helu in Washington, Richardson’s workhorse potential would be an ideal fit as Washington looks to upgrade their 30th ranked run game.

Cincinnati: Bengals are another potential destination as Cedric Benson will hit free agency and the 30 year problem child might be forced to take his rap sheet to another city. Cincy has two first round picks in the upcoming draft thanks to the Carson palmer trade (#17 and #21) and many expect them to use one of the picks on a RB upgrade.

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