Many of you have a view of Trent Richardson from the view of the national media over the years. Many of you may not have followed his career at all. Either way, I thought it beneficial to get the insight of those who covered him every step of the way during his NFL career. So, I contacted the lead writers from the SB Nation Browns site Dawgs By Nature and Colts site Stamped Blue to gain their insight.
We will start with the Browns. Here is what Dawgs By Nature lead writer Chris Pokorny had to say about Richardson:
Richardson had an admirable rookie season for the Browns, compiling 1,317 total yards of offense and 12 touchdowns. The downside was that he only averaged 3.6 yards per carry as a rookie and seemed to have trouble finding the correct hole to run through. It wasn't instinctive. However,
Except for one game against the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012, though, Richardson has been a big disappointment. We would always hear about his talent in the open field, but during his time with the Browns, every time I saw him catch a pass in the flat, I would stand up, thinking, "OK, here we go -- this is going to be exciting!" only to see him dropped after a
couple of yards, or he'd break a tackle before going out of bounds a yard later.
When it was revealed that Richardson played through a good portion of his rookie season with broken ribs, fans were willing to give him somewhat of a pass. "Maybe he just needed more time to develop," we thought.
A couple of games into the second season, it seemed quite possible that Richardson was not going to be an elite, game-changing back. To basically get a mulligan on that first-round pick was pretty remarkable to me. If you want my cliff notes version on Richardson, he has terrible vision when it comes to finding a hole and will tend to stutter-step behind the line of scrimmage. He should be most valued as a receiving back -- he has good hands and should still have the potential to make defenders miss once he actually gets out into open space.
Now let's hear from Josh Wilson of Stampede Blue for his take on Richardson:
Trent Richardson's time with the Colts was a disaster that was full of disappointment. After being the third overall pick in the draft by the Browns in 2012 and being acquired by the Colts for a first round pick just two games into the 2013 season, fans had plenty of hope for him regardless of what they thought of the trade. Simply put, his 2013 season was a massive disappointment, but the 2014 season was even worse.
On the field, he showed slight improvement, but still the production (or lack thereof) is staggering: in 31 games with the Colts (playoffs included), he rushed for just 978 yards and six touchdowns combined, averaging 3.1 yards per carry. In each of his two seasons with the Colts, Richardson was benched down the stretch - even being a healthy inactive for the divisional round of the playoffs. But in 2014, it went beyond just a lack of production but also to plenty of other concerns that the Colts had about Richardson.
Piecing together information from various reports, here's the picture we have: about midway through the season the Colts couldn't get ahold of Richardson one Monday - the day after Ahmad Bradshaw, who had been terrific in 2014, was lost for the season.
This issue again came up on the day before the AFC Championship game, as Richardson missed the required walkthrough without letting the team know. This was due to a family emergency in which his girlfriend experienced issues with her pregnancy that could have endangered the life of their child, but Richardson failed to let the team know before missing the walkthrough. As a result, they suspended him for two games (including the AFC title game) and, therefore, could possibly get out of his guaranteed money owed this year.Richardson is appealing that decision, though, in an attempt to get paid by the Colts the $3.18 million he is owed, so that is still going on.
Lastly, there were a number of concerns with his weight and Richardson was fined by the Colts a number of times for being over the weight limit that they had set for him.
Ultimately, Richardson's tenure with the Colts was without any doubt a disaster, but there's not a lot to dislike from the Raiders' point of view in picking him up. He knows this is probably his final shot and if he therefore is dedicated and applies himself to working, he could be better than he was in Indianapolis - though that's not saying a lot.
If you would like to hear back story on Richardson from the perspective of his college days, you can take a look at this post from the recruiting analyst over at SB Nation's site covering Alabama sports, RollBamaRoll.