Home / General / Ya Think?

Ya Think?


No kidding:

Just over a month ago, the sky was supposedly falling in Cleveland.

That’s because the Browns had traded running back Trent Richardson, the third overall selection in the 2012 NFL draft, to the Indianapolis Colts in a move that many deemed sheer lunacy. The belief at the time was that Cleveland was giving up its best offensive weapon, a player who should be the bedrock of the franchise.

Now the only criticisms that can be heard are coming from Indianapolis, where Richardson remains the disappointing talent the Browns had the good sense to deal.

It’s not that Richardson is a bad player. It’s just that he’s not an exceptional one.

He has yet to gain more than 60 yards in any of his five games with the Colts. He’s had 75 carries during that time and produced all of 228 yards, which is a worse yards-per-attempt average than he generated in his first two games with Cleveland this season (3.04 compared to 3.39). Richardson scored the first two touchdowns of his season while in Indianapolis, but more people likely recall his critical fumble late in the Colts’ upset win over Denver on Oct. 20.

As much as optimists in Indianapolis preach the importance of patience when faced with these facts, it’s becoming hard to see the upside in a player who was supposed to be special and cost the Colts a first-round pick.

“We were getting killed when we made that deal, but now people are seeing the same things we saw in him,” one Browns source said. “There is a lot to like about Trent. He’s solid, dependable, hard-working. The problem is that he’s not explosive.”

This is actually a little too generous. I agree that it’s too early to declare that Richardson isn’t even a decent player, but so far in his career he has been a pretty bad player. He’s been pretty much the definition of replacement level — he’s played almost exactly as “well” as the player the Browns acquired off the waiver wire to replace him. And since he’s been traded to a team with an excellent QB and an offensive line the likes of Donald Brown and Vick Ballard run extremely effectively behind, the pathetic excuses being offered for his performance are even less defensible. He’s not very good because he’s not very good.

The interesting philosophical question here is whose sacrifice of a 1st round pick for Richardson was the stupidest. I guess you’d still have to say the Browns, because they both gave up an extremely valuable top pick and traded up for the privilege. The Browns were working from a standpoint of greater uncertainty, but using a top 3 pick on a running back is only potentially defensible if you’re talking about a once-in-a-generation Sanders/Peterson type star, and it’s abundantly clear that there was no rational basis for the belief that Richardson was that kind of player. But, still, while the pick the Colts gave up is less valuable to give up any kind of first round pick for a player at the most fungible offensive position when it’s not only clear that he’s not a star but when after a year+ he hasn’t even established that he’s average is nuts.

The good news for the Colts is that they’ll be largely bailed out by the erroneous premise of their decision. Richardson has been bad, but fortunately for them whether your running game is above or below average just isn’t very important in contemporary football, so they’re still 5-2 against a tough schedule, and the pick they have up is likely to be near the bottom of the first round.

Speaking of bad NFL decisions and people who remain bullying fratboys all their lives, when Greg Schiano gets fired looks like the GOP has a future candidate!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • I’ve been waiting for this post for 2 or 3 weeks now. What a stupid trade for the Colts.

    • In the Colts defense, the scouts got the wrong film and thought they were trading for Mark Ingram.

      • Scott Lemieux

        In the Colts defense, the scouts got the wrong film and thought they were trading for Mark Ingram.


    • James E. Powell

      Even if Trent Richardson were an above average RB, the whole thing is kind of strange.

      Imagine you are the GM. You look at your team and think, “What we really need is a better RB.” Why is Richardson your choice?

      Or imagine that you are the GM and you want to spend next year’s first round pick on a player who will help you now. Of all the players at all the positions who are available for a first round pick, why go with RB?

      • Shwell Thanksh

        The counterfactual value of a foregone 1st round pick seems to rely heavily on the specific circumstances. Anyone know whom they could have had in this case?

        • Brien Jackson

          Well, Scott’s general theory is that they should have either taken Justin Blackmon or basically any defensive player, but:

          A) Blackmon isn’t a particularly special player either and can’t keep himself off of the suspended list to boot.

          B) The defensive players had numerous drawbacks:

          1. Picking a pass rusher would have been a reach at 4.

          2. The defensive backs would have had a limited return playing behind a mediocre pass rush (and, it should be pointed out, the Browns already had Joe Haden and T.J. Ward, and have subsequently put together a pretty solid defense all the same).

          3. Since the Browns run a 3-4 defense, picking Kuechley, a MLB, would entail the same “his position isn’t that important!” critique as running backs.

          4. The next year’s draft class was deeper in defensive talent and both drafts were really thin on offensive players.

  • Rob

    Schiano’s motto was TBA—and he didn’t realize it

  • A Different John

    Yeah, me too. I’ve also been wondering just how good Luck is. “The worst 11-5 team in history” last year… but up from 2-14 the year before… it’s by no means all Luck, of course, he’s obviously far, far better than Mr. “He Just Wins Games”. I could see them anywhere from 9-7 to 11-5 again this year, even w/o Reggie Wayne and a running back.

    One does wonder if anyone in the Colts’ front office actually watched any game films before making that trade.

  • FMguru

    Nah, Schiano doesn’t have a future in GOP politics. Americans will forgive and overlook a lot, and a lot of them seem to secretly enjoy being bullied by assholes, but they draw the line at a guy who commits the cardinal sin of losing football games.

    • Crunchy Frog

      But losing baseball games and trading away Sammy Sosa was just fine.

  • James E. Powell

    in a move that many deemed sheer lunacy.

    I don’t recall that “many” deemed the trade sheer lunacy. The only ones who thought it was a bad trade were the same ones who thought it was a good idea to draft Richardson with the third pick.

    At the time of that draft, the consensus among those who know what they are talking about (that is, people who are right more often than wrong over several seasons) was that the third pick should not be used on a running back, even a really good running back.

    The belief at the time was that Cleveland was giving up its best offensive weapon

    The only people who believed this were those who had never seen the Browns play.

    • CaptBackslap

      Of course, most people avoid seeing the Browns play whenever possible.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I don’t recall that “many” deemed the trade sheer lunacy. The only ones who thought it was a bad trade were the same ones who thought it was a good idea to draft Richardson with the third pick.

      Yeah, fair enough, that’s pretty strawmanny.

      • Crunchy Frog

        The other people who thought it was a bad trade are those football pundits who reflexively genuflect for football royalty like Mike Holmgren (cough … Peter King … cough).

        Basically, the divide on the TR trade was whether you were ready to admit that Holmgren had been an unmitigated disaster as a GM … close to the level of a Matt Millen … or were still trying to keep in Holmgren’s good graces.

        Holmgren had been a poor GM before – remember he was fired as GM at Seattle but allowed to stay on as coach – and remember his whole reason for leaving GB was that he wanted to be a GM too. The very idea of hiring Holmgren as a GM was crazy from the outset.

  • shah8

    There have been a number of teams that have had to deal with crisis at running back, and uh, seriously, the Richardson dealio is material. The Browns drafted him because they couldn’t effectively run the ball, and were losing games because of it. And yeah, if you had *watched* the KC game, the Brown *do* miss Richardson to an extent.

    One of the interesting and fucked up aspect of the “running backs ain’t worth shit” meme, is just how much RBs are expected to produce in their rookie and sophomore years. The NFL rushing game is not the college rushing game. They have to actually learn how to do lots of things that aren’t necessarily reflected in the box score. More than that, they are far more dependent on their OL’s technical proficiency rather than better talent than the other team.

    Very few players are truly productive in their rookie year, and generally into their second year. The Adrian Petersons exception is just as true for all the other positions too. AJ Green can star his rookie year, but most other receiver have to mature. Are any of the OLs drafted in the first round very productive today? Maybe DJ Fluker, but he never had the ceiling the others did. Meanwhile, Larry Warford has taken off like a rocket. That doesn’t mean that first rounders at OT are a waste of money. That just means the scouts missed his talent and the Detroit coaching staff did a good job utilizing his talents from the third round. A redraft would just have Warford in the first round. Doesn’t mean that any old third round lineman prospect can be substituted. Doesn’t work that way. Doesn’t work that way for RBs either.

    • Anonymous

      How DID Detroit manage to bumble their way into a really good offensive line anyway? That was supposed to be their weakness this year. (In response to Shah8, reply may not be working).

    • Porternator

      I think there are two issues here. (Again, this comes from the management point of view, not the workers.)

      One is the lifetime of a RB (and to some extent WR falls in this category) compared to other positions. As a team, you’re only going to get maybe 4 years of good production out of a RB unless they turn into something special. So saying something along the lines of “they’ll be better next season” is burning a huge portion of their value. Trent got 1 season with the Browns and didn’t show much of anything in the “something special” category. Not much else to say, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a growth chart for RBs that would indicate years 2 & 3 would be any different. So far it hasn’t. (And even QBs basically have at most a two season growth chart – you are who you are after two seasons.)

      (Note: you’re point about the OL doesn’t really seem to be the issue because of different uses for these players. Yes, players improve during their rookie seasons, or at least they should. You know who didn’t improve? Trent Richardson. There are hits & misses all over the place in the draft. A failing “Left Tackle of the franchise” can move over to RT and still be productive in a more limited way. A failing RB can move to?)

      The other point is supply. There are a lot of other replacement-level RBs available. So if you can replace 80% of the production (or more in this case) with 30% of the pay (actually, I think it’s less than this due to Richardson’s high salary, just guessing here), that makes sense unless you’re a serious playoff contender or you’re near the salary cap floor.

    • Murc

      One of the interesting and fucked up aspect of the “running backs ain’t worth shit”

      Does anyone, including our host, actually believe that?

      The issue isn’t that running backs ain’t worth shit. It’s that their actual worth does not match their perceived worth. Do you need some good RBs? Yeah, of course you do. You gotta run the ball occasionally. Is merely getting a “good” RB worth trading to draft very high and then blowing that high pick on one? Almost certainly not. Even getting an exceptional one probably isn’t worth that; you need someone who is astoundingly good to justify not deploying your resources elsewhere, or at the very least, the rest of your roster has to be so insanely solid that it IS the best use of your resources.

      • Brien Jackson

        Yes, Scott has claimed that having talented players with “RB” behind their names on the roster is worthless.

        • jdkbrown

          No, no he hasn’t.

          • Brien Jackson

            ” trading up to trade for a player who has played badly at a position where playing well wouldn’t have a great deal of impact on your team is so obviously indefensible.”


            • mpowell

              How in your mind is the statement “wouldn’t have a great deal of impact” equivalent to “worthless”. Because, seriously, they’re not the same.

              • Brien Jackson

                Well, you have to take it of a piece with other contentions that WRs and DBs do have a great deal of impact on a team. I mean, if you’re comparing them to pass rushers or quarterbacks specifically than sure, but that’s not what Scott did.

                Hell, he even claimed that the Browns would have been better served taking Justin Blackmon over Richardson (who recouped a first round pick for them, if nothing else) because W.R. that’s why.

                • McAllen

                  OK, but “RB’s are not as valuable as WR’s” is still not the same as “RB’s are worthless”

                • mpowell

                  Yeah, but you can actually get a substantial difference maker at WR or DE. There is usually at least 1 of those at both of those positions in any given draft. At RB that kind of difference maker might come every 5 or 10 years.

                • Brien Jackson

                  I would say, on balance, that a RB is more valuable than a WR or TE of equal talent.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  I would say, on balance, that a RB is more valuable than a WR or TE of equal talent.

                  Given that all serious empirical analysis disagrees with this and NFL general managers as a class disagree with this, I’m afraid you’re going to need more than bare assertion there.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Well, as a straight order of production, running backs are just more productive than equivalent wide receiver talents, are they not? 12 of the top 20/11 of the top 15/8 of the top 10 players in yards per scrimmage are running backs. Which actually seems pretty intuitive, since it’s generally much easier to get the ball to your running backs, and in a variety of ways, usually with specifically tailored blocking schemes in front of them.

                  And from a schematic point of view, a good running back has far more of an influence on the opposing defense than an equally talented receiver. So assuming:

                  1. I’ve got a QB and an offensive line.

                  2. The players are equally talented.

                  Yeah, I’d be much better off with a RB than a WR or TE as a primary weapon.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Yes, Scott has claimed that having talented players with “RB” behind their names on the roster is worthless.

          No, I haven’t. I’ve argued that running backs are less valuable than wide receivers and defensive backs, which is 1)of course true, since the passing game is far more important than the running game, and 2)also reflects the consensus of NFL general managers.

          • Brien Jackson

            I love how you hand waive “passing game” into WRs and DBs, when of course quarterbacks and pass rushers account for probably 90% of the value there.

            And as I said above, I’m pretty sure this is objectively wrong, and that given the choice between between two players of equal talent (so, say, I get to pick between Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson), a running back is the more valuable player.

            • if qbs are 90% of the value of the passing attack, howcumzit tom brady is having such a tough time stripped of quality receivers? surely that 90% should be enough….

              more to the point, i’m willing to bet that there isn’t a single gm in football who would agree that (assuming we could agree on what “equally talented” means), you’d rather have the equally talented running back than the equally talented receiver.

              • Brien Jackson

                Well, I meant to include pass protection in that group as well.

                As for New England, well, that’s a good question. But then, they’re also 6-2, so if you want to make a big deal out of them at this point they’re as much a problem for the idea that you have to put up big passing numbers to win.

                • so, in light of the point at hand, gronkowski is playing today and brady’s doing much better – imagine that!

                  the case for the relative importance of passing and pass defense is not made by one team’s 8-game record: it’s made by looking at what are the characteristics that correlate with winning games and titles.

                  i wish it were different – i’m old-school football all the way – but that ain’t how the game is played today.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Sure, eight games is a poor sample size, but again that cuts in both directions.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  But then, they’re also 6-2,

                  This is, of course, wholly irrelevant to the question at hand, which is your argument that the quality of a team’s receivers are nearly irrelevant to the quality of a team’s passing attack. What’s relevant to this question is the quality of the Patriot’s passing game. The Patriots have been a natural experiment testing you proposition, and Brady’s dramatic decline in performance when he’s lacked quality weapons is dramatically inconsistent with your theory. And then this week, with Gronkowski and Amendola back healthy, he was far better again.

                  Can this sample conclusively prove anything in itself? No. But your theory is exceedingly implausible to begin with and this doesn’t help.

                  By the way, I must return to this amazing sentence:

                  I love how you hand waive “passing game” into WRs and DBs, when of course quarterbacks and pass rushers account for probably 90% of the value there.

                  Pointing out that, given the fact that the NFL revolves almost entirely around the passing game and the ability to stop the pass that players who contribute to the quality of the passing attack are presumptively more valuable than players who generally don’t make a significant marginal contribution to the passing game is just simple logic. Making up an entirely arbitrary manner to dismiss this, conversely, is the very definition of hand-waving.

                • Brien Jackson

                  Well fine. But ceding that, since they’re now 7-2 they’re at least as problematic for the idea that a team can’t win consistently without a good passing game.

            • jdkbrown

              Megatron every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

              • Brien Jackson

                Incidentally, the Lions racked up a whopping 0.2 additional yards per play than the Vikings in 2012, despite Johnson’s record breaking season and the fact that Stafford nearly doubled Vikings’ quarterbacks passing yardage. This is…not terribly impressive.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  And this year, with Peterson having a season much closer to his career norms, the Lions have a vastly better offense, so I’m not sure what you think this proves.

                  Moreover, this cherry picking reflects exactly the simple fact you manifestly fail to understand. If there were running backs who could consistently get six yards a carry on high volume, then the marginal quality of a team’s running game might well be important — but there essentially aren’t, and this includes Peterson.

                • Brien Jackson

                  That…I picked an example of them having similar seasons.

                  Although even that’s a pretty bizarre point to make, since the biggest addition Detroit made to their offense was…a running back! Who’s presently their second best receiver and leader in all-purpose yards! Johnson, meanwhile, is producing at essentially the same rate he did last season.

    • James E. Powell

      The Browns drafted him because they couldn’t effectively run the ball, and were losing games because of it.

      Absolutely untrue. The Browns lost games because the Browns were, and are, a bad team. Their biggest need was a better QB than Colt McCoy.

      Holmgren/Heckert drafted Richardson because they weren’t able to draft Luck or RG III. They wanted an impact player, somebody who would make a big enough splash that they could hold on to their phony-baloney jobs.

      They had two first round picks and they blew it. I can’t believe people still defend those decisions.

  • Am I the only old guy yelling at clouds who misses the old days, when you also had to run the ball?
    Today’s league is too pass-happy – for MY tastes, anyway.

    I’m not talking about the Csonka, Morris, and Kiick, “Three yards and a cloud of astroturf,” Dolphins – but a more balanced approach.

    It seems like now, the running game is used mostly to burn the clock, more than anything.
    And it’s used like a change-up for teams on a lot of series.

    Now, with most teams, it seems like there’s only an occasional run until a team has a lead, and then they start running more.

    Yeah, since the ratings have been climbing, so I guess it is just me!

    “Hey you kids, get off my lawn! RUN, GODDAMMIT – RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    • Brien Jackson

      The issue is really that defensive players across the board are just too big and fast to run like that for most teams.

      • njorl

        It’s more that the rule changes have made it so much easier to pass. Look at career leaders in interceptions; almost none of them are active players despite the fact that teams are passing more (4 of top 100). Receiving and passing leaders are much more common among active players.

        receptions 14 of top 100
        receiving yards 15/100
        passing yards 14/100

        • i’m with cund gulag: i’m an old-school football guy.

          but we are a distinct minority, and as njorl rightly notes, the rulesmakers have noticed that the general public likes a wide-open, high-scoring, pass-oriented game and have adjusted the rules to favor that.

          • Crunchy Frog

            So I ask you to find some black-and-white footage of some average NFL (not AFL) games from the mid-1960s. Jim Brown era. Watch the lines – both sides.

            If you haven’t done this before I promise it will shock you. The guys on the line were tiny in comparison today’s lines, and slow, too. If it appeared that the runner was down they often stopped playing, even before the play was whistled down. It was in a league like that where Green Bay was able to have a stable of backs with over 5.0 yards/carry rushing.

            In the 1970s defenses came into vogue. They all had names – the Purple People Eaters, the Steel Curtain, the Fearsome Foursome. You couldn’t get anywhere. Even when runners got a lot of yards they were bottled up near the end zone (look up the score of Payton’s then-record 276 yard game – it’ll shock you). Rules were changed – allowing use of hands in blocking and giving receivers the freedom from touching after 5 yards. This forced defenses to turn to zone coverage outfits and opened up room for running. It was under those rules that Dickerson set his season record.

            It actually was a bit much – after Marino’s Dolphins broke all the records in 1984 they didn’t actually change the rules, just “reinterpreted” them to allow pass defenders to try for a ball without being flagged for PI if they touched the receiver, but that rebalanced things a bit. But even then the next trend was coming – 7-in-a-box, pressure on the QB, AND good pass coverage to boot. First the Ryan Bears, then NYG, Minnesota, even Washington and SF followed suit.

            Running has gotten harder and harder since. Washington’s “Hogs” offensive line in 1982 – considered huge for the day, averaged in just above 280 lbs. Within 10 years no other line would be that small. William Perry was considered a giant at 310 lbs (probably actually 325) in 1985, bowling over defenses – now he’d be average.

            Yeah, you may like the old days when a single runner could turn a team from 4-10 to 11-3. You could build a team around a single player. But no amount of rules changing will bring those days back.

          • Then let them watch Arena Football. ;-)

        • Brien Jackson

          I don’t think that’s entirely true. I think the proliferation of passing college and high school has made quarterbacks better passers sooner, and the sophistication of the modern passing attack makes a well executed play virtually impossible to defend. At the same time, it’s virtually impossible to put together an offense that can put up college like numbers on the ground because defenders tackle too well and can close in on the play too quickly from anywhere. The rules help, but even absent that passing would still be the key to a good offense.

  • Decrease Mather

    Was Richardson really that much more impressive than Lacy in college?

    c u n d: I agree. I hate it when all runs are out if the shotgun.

  • Steve S.

    The interesting philosophical question here is whose sacrifice of a 1st round pick for Richardson was the stupidest.

    Oh that’s easy, Indy’s. As you point out it’s very difficult to justify a high pick on a running back though it’s at least possible to do so, so Cleveland’s choice was a case of poor talent evaluation. Indy not only performed the same poor talent evaluation, they traded away value to a partner that seemingly was in a mood to sell.

    • I really don’t see how the argument of the value of Indy’s first round draft-pick lines up with the evaluation of Richardson.

      Are we working under the assumption that Indy’s draft pick is even going to be in the top-10? I guess people might think a best-RB-in-the-draft shouldn’t be in the first round at all, but I definitely disagree with that.

      Indy got Richardson because all their other RBs are hurt. Maybe they thought he was better than he actually is, but it would appear that he certainly has value. I’m not sure how Brown is dealing out these big runs, but he does so very sparingly. His main rap has always been his failings as a pass-blocker though, and that’s pretty important to a team like the Colts.

      • Scott Lemieux

        His main rap has always been his failings as a pass-blocker though, and that’s pretty important to a team like the Colts.

        Sure, but you don’t need to invest a first round pick to find a running back who can pick up a blitz.

        I agree that the trade the Colts made wasn’t as damaging because the pick wasn’t nearly as valuable, but as I say the argument is self-refuting as a defense of the trade per se.

  • James E. Powell

    Jeffri Chadiha – October 31, 2013

    The belief at the time was that Cleveland was giving up its best offensive weapon, a player who should be the bedrock of the franchise.

    Jeffri Chadiha – September 18, 2013 – when the trade was announced

    All you have to do with this stunning transaction is consider one obvious fact: The Browns weren’t going anywhere with Richardson as their franchise back.

  • Is it coincidence that Schiano’s fortunes are mirroring those of Ray Rice? (See the RB link above)

    No Rutgers alum would have thought so; now the rest of you can see it as well…

    • Brien Jackson

      If by “mirror” you mean the reversing effect of looking into one or something.

  • dp

    Given the almost universal failure of Alabama players to live up to their hype in the NFL (Julio Jones being the exception that proves the rule), people are starting to speculate on what kind of PED program they have going on there that can’t be continued under the NFL’s testing regime.

    • I’ve heard that Saban demands an awful lot of his players. Basically that to play for him you’ve got to totally buy in. So it’s thought that he basically wears his players out and they’re toast by the time they reach the NFL.

      • Unless he’s running practices in full pads Tues-Fri, I don’t see how that’s possible.

        More likely is that he’s got a finely tuned ‘college’ system that gets the most out of a higher grade athlete at that level.

        There are roughly 120 BCS schools with say 90 players, with say 40% being draft eligible that’s about 3600 college kids and the 254 draft slots.

        Even at Alabama the vast majority of the players are not going to play in the NFL in any capacity, but Saban’s coaching and recruiting will make them look better than they objectively are compared to the pool.

        Bobby Knight had the same impact with his BB program and NBA professional success. His best player at the professional level was essentially a one-and-done player (at the time) Isiah Thomas and the only first overall selection he had was a complete bust, Kent Benson.

        • Porternator

          Careful with “vast majority” – at places like Alabama, USC, and Ohio State, yes a majority (>50%) of a departing class have been and can be drafted into the NFL. Basically, 10% of FBS players will get a chance in the NFL, maybe a bit more with undrafted/waivers players. But the talent distribution is NOT flat in CFB.

          • Where I come from 90% not playing IS the vast majority.

            And 50% of a graduating class being drafted as some sort of expectation?

            17 picks from Texas in 1984 is the record, the high point, ever.

            11 below the 4th round.

            So even being drafted does not actually mean having any meaningful playing time in the NFL.

            It’s very unlikely that Saban is ‘wearing out’ his players.

            Consider the 17 Texas players from that year – here are the top 4 round picks:

            1 Mossy Cade – 2 years, 30 games, 19 starts
            2 Ed Williams – 5 years, 62 games, 10 starts
            2 Doug Dawson – 8 years, 106 games, 70 starts
            3 Fred Acorn – 1 year, 16 games, 1 start
            3 Rick McIvor – 2 years, 6 games, 0 starts
            4 Craig Curry – 4 years, 40 games, 17 starts

            Not one of these 6 was a career starter, never mind Pro Bowler or All-Pro.

            This is how the draft goes, lots of bodies, not many players.

            • Porternator

              No 50% is not a reasonable expectation anywhere. But it has happened. My issue was your use of “vast majority” in that sentence. At the top schools, that’s not really the case. Overall yes, but again, the talent distribution is not level.

              A top-recruiting school will have 5-8 players drafted every year. That’s 30% of a class. (Typical signing classes are in the low to mid 20s, but that’s a very messy number, especially in the SEC.) Consistently. That’s a reasonable expectation for the top 10 or so schools. And there are good years and bad years.

              Of course getting drafted is only step one on the road to NFL glory and riches.

              • Standing by vast majority, now and forever.

                It’s an urban myth that these football factories turn out huge numbers of successful professional players.

                Duke has more NFL HoFers than Florida or Georgia or Michigan State.

                So does Kansas. And Duke and Kansas have the same number as Oklahoma. Texas only has 1 more than Duke and Kansas.

                While it’s true that USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan have turned out the numbers and the level of players that lead inevitably to lots of talent at the next level it’s still a fact that they aren’t graduating 50% of their senior classes into the NFL as fodder, much less as NFL starters.

                • Porternator

                  Successful = Hall of Fame? That’s a big stretch. Maybe successful is just “is on the 53 man roster for an NFL team at the start of the season”. Looking at outliers like HoF players (or even Pro Bowlers) is not a good measure of the health of talent production at schools. Year-in-year-out numbers of players playing professional ball is much less prone to statements like “the talent level at Kansas is equal to Oklahoma”. If you find yourself arguing that about CFB, your argument is obviously wrong.

                  Again, 50% is a stretch for even the top-shelf teams. But 20-30% happens regularly. I don’t know if it’s an urban myth that these top schools send everyone off to NFL riches, but they have a better track record doing so than the little guys.

                • See Texas breakdown of the most players ever taken by the NFL in a single draft from a single school (above).

                  Not a single career starter in the 17. Not a single pro bowl appearance.

                  That’s way closer to the norm than a star player at top school becomes immediate NFL starter.

                  And the reason I point out the HoF stats is that if the football factories are turning out such high caliber NFL players at such a prolific rate, you would expect that Georgia, Florida, and Michigan State would have more HoF players than perennial patsies than Duke and Kansas.

                  But it’s just the opposite. Duke and Kanas have more. (Heck, Louisiana Tech has more HoFers than them as well.) That tells you what a crap shoot the whole drafting business is. Good/great players can come from anywhere and putting too much faith in high profile program players is not a winning strategy.

                • Brien Jackson

                  “That’s way closer to the norm than a star player at top school becomes immediate NFL starter.”

                  Why is this supposed to be surprising?

                • Porternator

                  You may notice I’m not claiming that the top-10 schools are turning out HoF players every year. That is impossible. Only up to 5 are inducted in any given year! There are 280 HoF players there now, and if we only include the modern era after the 1978 rules changes, that cuts it in half. Using the output from the 140 most outlier players, with a biased sample because of over-representation of QB/RB, and lags by 20 years from the current date, is a very poor methodology for determining the overall average talent output of the tens of thousands of players at CFB schools.

                  A place like Louisiana State has a lot more players taking up roster space in the NFL than Iowa State. That’s true now, was true 10 years ago, and was true 20 years ago. Again, getting drafted is only step 1.

                • I’ll give you very close.

                  But the high water mark for FSU is 11 of 23 (under 50%) on their 2012 roster.

                  Given that this is their best ever, that’s clearly not the norm. And since it ties Miami, it’s clearly not the norm for Miami, either. And since no one in the ACC matches that either, it’s not the norm for any one in the conference.

                  Even that Texas team with 17 drafted, had 38 seniors on the roster.

                  Maybe once every few years, a school might approach or reach that 50% mark. The 1974 and 1976 USC teams had 14 folks drafted. 1976 had 3 in the top 5, 3 made the Pro Bowl including 12th rounder Rod Martin. But again that’s the high water mark for them.

                • Porternator

                  The Noles have had 51 players drafted over the last 10 years. They’re not the top talent-producing team over that time, but have done well. That’s still more than 20% of the total roster in a year over that time. And the starters you’re watching on the field are going to be much more represented – at those top schools maybe half of their starters will make the NFL draft.

                • Still not 50%.

                • Porternator

                  My point was that you said that even at a place like Alabama a vast majority of their players won’t get drafted. They have had 17 draft picks in the last two years. That’s about 40% of the roster, although with Saban’s history of grey shirting and transfers and such, it’s a bit hard to tell. But of the starters? That’s easily a majority. If you watched a player play for Alabama in the last couple years, there is a better than even chance they will get drafted into the NFL. My issue was the “vast majority” comment.

            • Florida State had 11 folks drafted for 2013. That’s an FSU and ACC record (including Miami, btw). Not 50% of their graduating class.

              Three in the first round – very promising.

              5 in the first 42 picks, very strong.

              Still. the remaining 6 were in the 5/6/7 rounds, hardly long term NFL material.

              • Porternator

                Well, their incoming class in 2009 was 21 players according to wikipedia, so yes, >50%. Getting 10 or more players drafted is uncommon, I’m not disagreeing with that. And even at these top schools, there’s still something like a 2:1 odds against making an NFL roster. But “vast majority” I think overstates it at the top schools. After the top 10-15, I agree totally.

        • Bobby Knight had the same impact with his BB program and NBA professional success. His best player at the professional level was essentially a one-and-done player (at the time) Isiah Thomas and the only first overall selection he had was a complete bust, Kent Benson.

          Was Kent Benson a top athlete in his class or was he drafted based on his college production? Usually though, he didn’t get top athletes. Especially in the 1980’s and 90’s.

          • Knight got top players in the 1970’s and he lost a few as well.

            Buckner, May, Benson, Bird (until Benson hazed him), Turner, Thomas. Blue chippers all of them.

            Then he lost the recruiting touch (but not the talent evaluation skills – read ‘Season on the Brink’ – his evaluation of Hornacek at Iowa State, among others is amazing) brought in the JC transfers to win one last time in the late 80’s.

            Benson was a strong player on the last undefeated NCAA championship team in 1976 as a junior. As a senior (the only one I think) the team was in turmoil and finished 14-13. That should have been a red flag right there. Then Jabbar clocked him in the pre-season breaking Benson’s jaw and his own hand. Later Milwaukee traded him to Detroit for Bob Lanier (replay of Trent Richardson?).

          • Bill Murray

            He was probably the top college center available, but he wasn’t that great an athlete. Scott May and Quinn Buckner were the better athletes on the undefeated Indiana team

            • Buckner certainly was. He was a top Big Ten conference DB on the IU football team as a freshman. Then he (wisely) gave it up.

            • I’d rate Benson (#1 overall in 1977) and Danny Ferry (#2 overall in 1989) about the same as athletes, but Ferry was a better shooter in college. Both were way overrated and consequently over paid, while being serviceable role players. Ferry got a 10 year guaranteed contract – inexcusable.

              Neither of them averaged double figures for about a decade length career as marginal players in the NBA.

    • Brien Jackson

      Playing against college level opposition, would be my guess.

    • mpowell

      How is this remotely complicated? Saban has, on the field, 7 or 8 NFL replacement level calibre players. The opposition has 1 or 2. Whether Saban has a good to great NFL player on the field at that point is irrelevant. College football is usually about how good your great players are. When you are as deep as Alabama its more about how much ridiculously better your worst 10 starters are compared to your opponent.

      • Exactly.

        Alabama has both the better starters at the skilled positions and greater depth at every position than 90% of the teams they compete against.

        The team has great success and the star players will have gaudy statistical success. That may or may not mean success at the next level. Just like Alabama’s third string walk-on might have been his high-school’s all time greatest talent in a weak league, but can’t compete for the starting job at Alabama. A great player at Alabama does not ensure success when competing at the NFL level. Happens. All.The.Time.

        Success is more likely from a strong talent pool, granted, but changing the odds from 100-1 to 10-1 is still pretty far from a sure thing.

        • mpowell

          Actually, more like 100%. If you are beating Alabama it is going to be scheme, getting lucky or having a few exceptional players. It’s not going to be from depth.

          • I wouldn’t say 100%, because when they play fellow behemoths Ohio State, USC, Florida State at the top of their cycles they will be matched.

            Right now with Saban, Alabama is at the top of their cycle, but times, coaches, and the tastes of recruits change over time.

            If Urban Meyer keeps recruiting like he has, OSU could be an equal match to Alabama. A new, high profile coach at USC and/or Texas can change things in a hurry there, too. I’ve always though Mack Brown was an underachiever at Texas.

        • Porternator

          Well, I think the odds changes are even bigger than what you suggest. If you were a good high school player, but your only offer for a scholarship was to Idaho, without knowing anything else, I would say your odds of becoming an NFLer are in the 1% range. You never know. If you had offers from Alabama/Georgia/Florida/etc, I would say your odds are up in the 30% range. But there are no sure things in life.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Given the almost universal failure of Alabama players to live up to their hype in the NFL

      If I understand correctly, Alabama offensive linemen have generally lived up to the hype, which might be a hint. And as Brien and several others say, the lack of competitive balance in college football means you have to be pretty careful.

  • Denverite

    using a top 3 pick on a running back is only potentially defensible if you’re talking about a once-in-a-generation Sanders/Peterson type star

    Serious question. Is there any way to know this ex ante? Is there any combination of college performance plus physical attributes where you can know when drafting a RB that there is more than a random chance that he’ll (1) be a transformational player like Sanders/Peterson and (2) he’ll be sufficiently healthy to show those skills? Or is it (as I suspect) a case where it’s completely luck of the draw and maybe 5% (or less) of the super-talented college RBs will hit, and there’s no way to tell ahead of time.

    Also, I’m sure everyone has heard, but keep John Fox in your thoughts. He’s undergoing arterial valve replacement and will be hospitalized a couple of weeks and out of commission a few more (I suspect the whole year, but then here in Denver we have George Karl’s experience in the back of our minds).

    • Porternator

      Not really. Even Peterson fell, to I think #7?, in the first round due to injury concerns from his college days. But everyone knew there were knee issues. It just turns out that his knees are now cybernetic enhancements and the League hasn’t caught on.

      People do look at the physical measurables and their college production (modulo offensive scheme) and try to figure this out, but I don’t think there’s any system better than maybe 60% hit rate.

      • Brien Jackson

        Right, this. As we’ve gone over before, Scott’s entire analysis of the draft strategy is based on an after the fact evaluation of Richardson’s talent, and he refuses to acknowledge that there were a whole bunch of scouts and other evaluators who thought Richardson was the equivalent of a five tool baseball prospect and the best offensive player (non-QB) in that draft.

        • Porternator

          Although I think at this point, his after-the-fact analysis is the Colts before-the-fact analysis. Which makes the trade from their perspective all the more puzzling.

          I don’t think any RB is worth a top-20 pick given the risk/reward, so agree with his amusement at the Browns making the initial selection. And given how the Colts are doing, it now looks like it’s going to cost them a mid to high 20s pick in the end. But Trent isn’t worth that. And it’s not even close.

          • Brien Jackson

            The Colts picked him up two games into his second season. I doubt his rookie year stats were weighted more heavily than their own scouting reports on him at that point.

            • Porternator

              Really – they weighted his ONE season of starting in college more than his ONE season in the pros? He played 15 games at the pro level with 267 carries last season. He started 15 games in college, and had 540 carries total over his career. How many of those were against NFL competition? Did they weight his performance against Kent State as much as his performance against the Bengals?

              I’m sure they used their scouting reports from college – but they also had scouting reports from his pro season. And it’s not pretty. I can see an argument that “he only got 3 ypc, but with a better OL and credible QB play he’ll produce more”. But many, many RBs have the same issues, and some could have been had for a much, much smaller price tag. He’s got no burst, never demonstrated any in Cleveland, and the OL and QB aren’t the reason.

              • Brien Jackson

                Believe it or not, NFL teams put a lot of stock in raw physical measurements and skills. They even have a big event where they get all the teams and a whole bunch of players who want to get drafted together on the same place to scout those things!

                • Porternator

                  That’s great for evaluating someone hasn’t played a down in the NFL. But someone who had 267 carries and probably what, 500 or more plays total to look at? Looking past his sub-replacement level pro performance to his Combine or college performance is what is so stupid here. If he had 30 mediocre carries and was injured or whatever, I could maybe see an argument for the trade based on that hope. But that’s not what happened.

                • Brien Jackson

                  He was hurt for most of last season.

                • Porternator

                  If that’s what qualifies as hurt, then he’s going to be hurt for the rest of his career.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Scott’s entire analysis of the draft strategy is based on an after the fact evaluation of Richardson’s talent

          No, it’s not.

          • Scott Lemieux

            I should follow myself up for those who are newer to the blog by noting that I made this argument at the time; it’s not a retrospective one. It’s stupid to take a running back with a top three pick absent extraordinary circumstances, and there was no reason whatsoever to believe that Trent Richardson represented extraordinary circumstances. (You think Barry Sanders ever would have been behind Mark Ingram on an NCAA depth chart?)

            • Porternator

              While I agree with your analysis, I think I’m going to have to go with the Colts being dumber here than the Browns. The Browns gave up a King’s ransom for a still-unknown quantity, with maybe a 5% chance of getting near that value. The Colts gave up (something else very valuable, but also obviously of less value than a King’s ransom) for a known quantity whose value is much less than what they gave. Isn’t that a lot dumber?

              • Brien Jackson

                Except the Browns really didn’t give up a king’s ransom: they traded some lower round picks in a not particularly deep draft and didn’t give up any future picks to get their (quasi) first choice of player. It sucks that they were shitty at evaluating incoming rookies, but the straight value proposition to the move is not a bad one by any means.

                • Porternator

                  If it wasn’t a very “deep” draft, shouldn’t they have been trying to just do a larger draft pool and hope a few turn out? If you’re really not sure about anyone after Luck or RG3, then putting all your eggs in one basket (especially the RB basket, the most egg-breaking and losing basket of them all!) seems very short-sighted.

                  I think that’s the biggest point that come out of the draft analyses over the years – evaluation on 2 or 3 years of college ball and one weekend of timed pushups is really hard. That’s why the 2-3-4 round draft picks are so valuable. They don’t cost as much to the cap, and there’s still a lot of talent. Yes, the later round picks they gave up aren’t worth a whole lot individually, but if one of them had turned into a starting LB and another a special teamer that would be worth more than what they got out of Richardson.

                • Brien Jackson

                  This doesn’t make sense at all. You’re saying that because the draft isn’t deep, instead of picking a prospect they evaluated very highly in the top five picks they should have stockpiled lottery tickets in rounds where you don’t typically find starting caliber talent even in good draft classes?

                • Brien Jackson

                  There’s also a sort of tautology at work here, where it’s supposed to be a huge negative for the franchise that the team who drafted Richardson and Weeden in the first round weren’t able to make additional picks much further down the draft board where talent evaluation is even harder and even the best drafting franchises don’t regularly find players who go on to become starters.

                • Porternator

                  My issue is what does “deep” mean? Not a lot of first round talent? Not a lot of overall talent? Just no starters anywhere? If they took the attitude of “no one available after the 3rd round will make an NFL roster” (and not just any roster – the Browns!), then I guess the conclusion is to cash it in and get a player that will make a roster. But if that’s their conclusion, then their talent evaluation is even worse than at first look.

                  They poorly evaluated a player, and it didn’t work out. Happens all the time. Scott’s point, and my view as well, is that the RB position in the modern NFL game is such that, even if you evaluate a player to have a 50% chance of being the next Adrian Peterson, spending that much on them won’t help your team. I would much rather take 4 chances in the later rounds than one big gamble with a RB.

            • Bill Murray

              well Sanders played behind Thurman Thomas for 2 years and totaled less than 1000 yards rushing those two years, so it is certainly possible he could have been behind a two year older Ingram

              • Thurman made it to the NFL HoF.

                Sanders played behind him because Thurman was older and by the time Sanders arrived an established star.

                If Sanders shows up behind anyone who’s not destined for the NFL HoF he’s putting them on the bench.

            • Brien Jackson

              And, again, you co-mingle two distinct arguments: how talented Richardson is with how talented the people who thought Richardson was/relative scarcity of first round talent (i.e., your “just pick a defensive player” argument completely ignores that the 2013 first round was VERY deep in pass rushers and defensive backs even into the early second round, while there were less than a half dozen skill position players of any regard between the two years).

    • mpowell

      I would never draft a RB in the top 10 for this reason, but if you think Richardson was nearly as dominant as Barry Sanders or even Adrian Peterson you are taking crazy pills. Richardson looked only slightly better than other RBs at Alabama which might translate into a quality NFL player, but certainly not a once-in-a-generation talent. Compare that to Barry Sanders who was putting up record-breaking and mind-blowing numbers at Ok St against quality competition. If you compare the two coming out of college, it’s like getting hit by a two-by-four.

      • Brien Jackson

        What does production have to do with scouting prospects at that point? Because Ron Dayne and Tim Tebow were awesome NFL players?

        I don’t know the reason for his problem, but the problem with Richardson the pro is ridiculously easy to spot: He’s just not as fast and explosive as he was at Alabama. Maybe it’s injuries, maybe he’s not working hard enough now, etc., but that’s the issue, and he did look like a complete NFL style back coming out of college. To say he didn’t look like a better NFL prospect than Mark Ingram is ridiculous.

        • mpowell

          It’s a matter of degree, but I did say slightly better. Problem is, Ingram went in the 1st round, which he had no business doing. I’d still say if a scout thought Richardson looked as good coming out of college as Sanders they were crazy. And college production can be used to evaluate prospects if you know what you are doing.

          • James E. Powell

            At the time of the draft, Richardson was touted as another Emmitt Smith.

  • TapirBoy1

    As a Browns fan, it looks like the TRich trade to the Colts may help redeem some of the disastrous decisions of the Holmgren/Heckert era.

    Hindsight is 20/20 and all that but trading up to take Richardson was a mistake, and the Colts had all the information they needed to know that Richardson wasn’t much of a back, yet they paid a steep price for him anyway.

    We’ll see who the Browns take with Colts’ pick.

    • I’m sure they’ll get a once in a generation talent with the 20th or later pick, or else it’s a bust apparently.

  • Brien Jackson

    How good Richardson is aside, the idea that the Browns gave up more to get him is patently silly. They swapped the fourth pick for the third pick, which is to say that claims they “traded away a top pick” is a very silly way to analyze the trade. The Colts, on the other hand, traded away a future indeterminate pick at a discount to acquire him.

    • James E. Powell

      No one in this thread said that the Browns “traded away a top pick,” so I’m not sure who you are quoting.

      What Scott Lemieux said what that the Browns “both gave up an extremely valuable top pick and traded up for the privilege.” That’s accurate. The Browns spent the 3rd pick or, stated another way, they spent the 4th, 118th, 139th, and 211th picks to get a replacement level RB for a team that needed better players at nearly every position.

      • Brien Jackson

        “The interesting philosophical question here is whose sacrifice of a 1st round pick for Richardson was the stupidest. I guess you’d still have to say the Browns.”

        I guess you could say by “sacrifice” he means picking Richardson, but that’s an even more bizarre use of language, given that the problem is that Richardson hasn’t lived up to his scouting profile, to say the least. By that token, look at how many teams sacrificed first round picks on a quarterback the year prior!

        • James E. Powell

          Regardless of whether Lemieux’s use of language was bizarre, your use of quotes was inappropriate.

          You said that “[t]he Colts, on the other hand, traded away a future indeterminate pick at a discount to acquire him.”

          When you say “indeterminate pick at a discount,” do you mean late first round pick? I don’t understand what “at a discount” means in your statement.

          • Brien Jackson

            Future first round picks get traded at discounted rates. I.e., the Colts didn’t know exactly where that pick would fall, which players would declare for the draft, etc.

            Or, put another way, how many players do you see get traded in exchange for a first round pick?

            • mpowell

              They do get discounted, but that discount is highly excessive for an organization with any kind of medium to long term outlook. Basically, anytime a team gives up future year picks, they are almost always making a bad trade. But to be fair, because that’s so common, perhaps that should be distinguished from the mistake of trading for Richardson in particular.

              • James E. Powell

                The question of trading a first round pick is what interests me, as I mentioned way up thread. What if the Colts had traded their first round pick for Josh Gordon?

                • Brien Jackson

                  It would have been dumb. Trading a first round pick (at least pre-draft, anyway) for a non-elite player is dumb.

                • Brien Jackson

                  I guess I should actually say “non-elite player who isn’t a quarterback, pass rusher, or offensive lineman.”

                • Scott Lemieux

                  What if the Colts had traded their first round pick for Josh Gordon?

                  It would certainly made much more sense that trading it for Richardson, although since they didn’t know Wayne was going to get hurt I’m not sure I would have done it.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I guess you could say by “sacrifice” he means picking Richardson, but that’s an even more bizarre use of language,

          It’s not a bizarre use of language at all. The Browns wasted the pick by selecting a replacement-level player at the lowest-impact non-special teams position. The precise magnitude of this decision was not known at the time, but it’s known now. It was a terrible gamble that failed spectacularly.

          • Porternator

            Maybe they “sacrificed” the other picks to move up, and “wasted” the actual pick to get a replacement-level player at first round prices?

            • James E. Powell

              I like to say that the Browns squandered the four picks that they traded for the 3rd pick because I think it is more accurate.

              I like to say “squandered” because I like the “skw” sound at the beginning of the word.

  • Brutusettu

    I’m still waiting for Scott to post what Richardson’s expected salary is this season and for the remainder of the contract (IDK if the contract is front loaded or not, Scott doesn’t seem to know either or at least doesn’t care to mention it).

    Zero mentions of his pass blocking abilities.

    Zero mentions of whether his catches are gaining 1st downs or not.

    So let’s get back to this *Sunk Cost* argument of earlier and stop ignoring it.

    • Porternator

      While those are skills with value, you don’t draft a RB in the first round because of his pass protection.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Richardson’s expected salary is this season and for the remainder of the contract

      They’re on the book for about $6 million. I’m not sure why I would mention it, since trading a first round pick for Richardson would make zero sense at half the price.

      Zero mentions of his pass blocking abilities.

      Of course not, since you don’t give up a first round pick to get a running back who can pick up a blitz.

      Zero mentions of whether his catches are gaining 1st downs or not.

      I’m amazed that you would bring this up. He’s had two catches in five games with the Colts. We’ve been over this in previous threads, but the idea that the pass-catching ability of a generic NFL RB is a scarce resource worthy of a high salary or first round pick is beyond absurd.

      • Brutusettu

        Meanwhile, generic veteran runs up the gut with a gaping hole 2 gaps over, runs into line and fumbles.

        Dude picked off the street misses blitz, QB lucky enough to still get the ball off for a TD.

        Dude off the street is open but keeps running into coverage and causes and incomplete pass.


      • Brutusettu

        ” I’m not sure why I would mention it, since trading a first round pick for Richardson would make zero sense at half the price.”

        “Trading” or using?

        The Browns didn’t lose two 1st rounders on TR.

        $6 million this year?

        Once TR was drafted, trading him was still a good idea???????

        RB blocking isn’t important? If so, why do good blockers on the line get paid so much if running isn’t important and it’s all about pass blocking?

        How often does Luck throw to a RB? Do the Colts have a different RB that is half-way to being a WR (and that’s eating up playing time on passing downs)?

  • Ann Outhouse

    The trouble with the Bucs is the ownership and the front office. Schiano didn’t hire himself. Schiano didn’t hire the equally awful (in a different way) Raheem Morris. Schiano didn’t fail to fire himself after going 0-7. Schiano didn’t trim payroll to the bone.

    Schiano needs to go, but what the Bucs really need are engaged owners who are serious about building a winning team, and a front office that isn’t a clueless clown car circus.

    • Brien Jackson

      A quarterback wouldn’t hurt either.

  • TapirBoy1

    Yep, a quarterback wouldn’t hurt the Browns. Luck is better than Weeden, and Richardson’s yards per carry has actually gone down a lot.

    Richardson seems like a good enough sort and I’d like to see him succeed. But I don’t think he’s turning into Jim Brown any time soon.

  • James E. Powell

    You know what I really, really don’t get? Why anyone would feel the need to defend Trent Richardson. He might be a nice guy, deserving of our love and respect as a human being. But as an NFL running back he hasn’t done anything to show that he was worth what either the Browns or the Colts spent to acquire him. Yet every time the draft of this particular player comes up, from the day after the draft till today, people rise up to defend the pick.

    What am I missing?

    • junker

      I think that he has become a proxy for the larger argument between those who think running backs are important and valuable and those who think running backs are fungible. When he was drafted I very distinctly remember the Barnwell article panning the idea of trading a bunch of lower picks to move up one spot for a running back. I remember being convinced and thinking that it was the first time I saw a frank discussion of why it was a mistake in general to place too much value in the running game.

    • Brien Jackson

      Well, it depends on the angle. If you’re going with the idea that Trent Richardson isn’t a very good football player and the Browns made a bad evaluation in picking him, well, fine, nothing wrong with that. Scott, of course, insists on extrapolating that out to a silly insistence that players with “RB” behind their name are just inherently less valuable than those with “WR,” “DB,” or “TE” after them, and that you shouldn’t spend that draft pick on Richardson even if you evaluated Richardson as highly as the Browns (and a lot of other teams) did. The latter is a completely separate matter, and the former has no particular bearing on it.

  • The Sheriff’s A Ni-

    And while Brien is upthread playing Mike Holmgren’s director of PR, the Browns are now 4-5 in the post-Heckgrin era and, more importantly, 4-1 when anyone other than Brandon Weeden is at QB.

    You can all but tell which picks were Heckert’s and which were Holmgren’s, just by the high profile and ratio of bust to productivity. TRich was a good kid, but its obvious now he had no place being drafted #3 and no place being traded for a first-round pick even if it winds up somewhere in the 20s.

    • James E. Powell

      Although they weren’t totally incompetent at drafting, the Holmgren/Heckert Era will forever be known by the blown 2012 draft. They had the 4th and 22nd pick and they got bupkes.

  • John F

    I’ve been looking at a lot of stuff actually written in 2012, and a whole bunch of writers said Trent R was worth a top 5 pick, even some who prefaced that comment by saying that ordinarily RBs are not worth a top 5 pick.

    So I’m open to the idea that Trent has simply not been the athlete (physically) he was in college or the combine for whatever reason.

    OTOH the consensus was that the Browns were fleeced in the trade- even the guys who loved Trent thought they were gonna get him with the #4 pick and had no need to move up. Also many of the guys who liked Trent still thought Blackmon would have been a better pick for the Browns…

  • Pingback: The Frank Bruni Award For Uncritical Coverage Goes To... - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money()

It is main inner container footer text