The National Football League sees players come and go every single year. Some of those players are Hall of Fame bound, some are pretty good, some are average at best, and then there are some that are just not good or cut out for the league for whatever reason. Trent Richardson fits the last category.
Richardson was selected with the third overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He was traded to the Indianapolis Colts a year later for a first round pick, where he was paired up with the No. 1 selection in his draft class Andrew Luck, and spent a season there. He was then released by Indianapolis and picked up by the Oakland Raiders this offseason. On Tuesday, Richardson was cut and now is in the unemployment line, with very little to no chance of returning to the league.
Luck went number one followed by the Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and then Richardson came off the board. He finished third in the Heisman voting behind Griffin and Luck. Cleveland fans were ecstatic with the pick as they had thought he would be a big-time back, but that was not the case. Some notable players the Browns could have selected instead of Richardson include Luke Kuechly, Doug Martin, Alshon Jeffery, and Russell Wilson.
Richardson’s rookie campaign wasn’t too bad, rushing for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns. After that, week 9 to be specific, he started going downhill. For his career, he has rushed for 2,032 yards and 17 touchdowns with a yards-per-carry average of 3.31. That is the second worst YPC for a running back with at least 500 carries. He did not have a 100-yard rushing game since week 9 of his rookie season. ESPN analyst and former NFL safety Ryan Clark said on ESPN’s First Take that Richardson is the worst running back in NFL history. That is quite the statement, but there is a real strong case that can be made, based on how he has played throughout his short stint in the league.
When the Browns drafted Richardson, legendary Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown was not pleased with his former team for drafting the young back out of Alabama and was very critical. Brown said that Richardson could not play the game at the NFL level and that served to be true. Richardson excelled at the high school and college levels, but could never get it done at the professional level. The Browns and Colts wasted first round draft picks on Richardson while the Raiders got by with giving him $600,000 of guaranteed money.
The ceiling and expectations were high for Richardson coming out of Alabama, but he never lived up to them. Unfortunately for the 2011 SEC Offensive Player of the Year, he has made his final stop in the NFL.