Trent Richardson a “Lion” of a Running Back

Posted by Reggie McColgan On April – 8 – 2012
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"2012 NFL Draft prospect, Trent Richardson"

Could the Lions jump up to grab the RB they have sought since Barry Sanders?

When predicting the NFL draft, draft nicks tend to look for patterns.  The Detroit Lions have been trading up for running backs ever since Barry Sanders retired back in 1999.  You cannot fault the Lions for lack of effort.  This year will be no different.  Martin Mayhew has been aggressive to try and partner a running back with Calvin Johnson.

Some experts say that Martin Mayhew is beyond prediction with his BPA strategy.  While that may be true Mayhew has followed the premium on elite players and not on quantity.  Mayhew never wavered on trading down instead of drafting Stafford and Suh; since he felt both were the best players in that draft.  In 2011, Mayhew tried to trade up for Peterson with the Cardinals and then rejected a trade back with the Broncos when Fairley fell to him.  Both instances showed Mayhew coveted elite players over quantity.

What makes me feel that the Lions will try to acquire a running back in this draft?  I think Richardson is the best non-QB talent and Running Back is that elusive piece that has plagued Mayhew.  Let’s review the recent draft day trades involving a RB and the Lions.  In 2004 the Lions traded up for Virginia Tech RB Kevin Jones.  Kevin Jones was part of a dynamic duo for VT.  Jones had power, speed, and injury issues in college.  After a successful rookie season Kevin Jones ran into numerous injury problems that led the Lions to release him in 2007. 

In the 2008 NFL draft the Detroit Lions traded up for sleeper RB Kevin Smith from Central Florida.  Kevin Smith was an all around talented RB who had massive amounts of carries in college.  His last season he had 450 carries and came with some warning signs.  Following a similar pattern Smith had a successful rookie season and has since struggled with injuries.

In the 2010 NFL draft the Lions traded up for Jahvid Best who was an exciting RB from California in Round 1.  Best was a pure speed demon that could burn you at RB, WR, and in the return game.  Problem was he was brittle and had concussion problems.  Sure enough after two seasons his career might be over for concussion problems.

The following season the Lions traded up in Round 2 for bruising RB Mikel Leshoure from Illinois.  In the preseason he tore his Achilles tendon and has since been arrested for pot possession.  It is unknown how he will come back.

After all these failures, I am sure you are wondering why I would suggest the Lions to trade up for another Running Back.  I am not in favor of massive trade ups in the draft; especially when it is not for a QB.  That said Mayhew wants a running abck and Trent Richardson is different than the above mentioned backs.  Richardson is the #1 RB since Peterson and not a borderline Round 1-2 back.  Richardson has no health concerns whereas the above did.  The only problem is the Lions are drafting 23 and not their usual low selections.

Who could the Lions trade with and what would it take to acquire the selection.  In a perfect world the Lions could trade with the Cardinals at 13.  I think the cost would be a swap of first, the Lions second and a fourth.  That is a more than doable trade but it is unlikely Richardson falls that far.  To guarantee the Lions acquire Richardson they would need to trade with the Cleveland Browns.  The Browns are no strangers to trading a top 10 pick to move to the latter half of Round One.  I am sure the Browns would look to last year’s trade to set the mark.  A first, second, and fourth this year and next year their first and fourth.  The Lions would be sorely mistaken to make this kind of trade but might be able to talk the Browns down.  The Browns are more desperate to trade down than the Lions are to move up.  I think they can settle on lowering next year’s draft picks to a second and maybe a late round pick.

It will be interesting to see once the 4th pick is on the clock.  I don’t expect the deal to be done but I do expect a few phone calls from Mayhew and Holmgren.  Can you imagine what Stafford, Johnson, and Richardson can do?  Stay tuned true believers.

  • cliff

    wow ,your right on target with this. there’s a good chance this happens. But its going to cost the lions the same as it cost the falcons. Holmgren the genious…

  • Reggie

    I agree that it will be costly. I am unsure if Ricahrdson is worth it. I will say I would rather have Richardson than Julio Jones. Are you a Browns fan Cliff? As a Lions fan I would have mixed reactions since I never like massive trade ups….but having CJ, Richardson, and Stafford makes me intrigued.

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