Overshadowed by the quarterbacks taken ahead of him in the 2012 NFL Draft, forgetting about Trent Richardson is easy. In today's NFL, the running back position has devalued like stock in Facebook.
But on Sunday, the third overall pick by the Cleveland Browns served notice. A week after being rusty in his debut, Richardson carried the ball 19 times for 109 yards. He also caught for passes for 36 yards. In Cleveland's 34-27 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Richardson accounted for two touchdowns.
Even in a loss, Richardson's play was the highlight of the game. Despite what Cleveland legend Jim Brown may think, Richardson was anything but ordinary.
It wasn't even Richardson's 32-yard second quarter touchdown run that should be cause for excitement. It was a good run, no doubt, but Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga blew his assignment and found himself on the ground. With the protection, it was a play a starting running back should make.
It was this play, a 24-yard touchdown catch that showed why Richardson was such a high pick:
Richardson made four defenders miss on the play. Three were by sheer elusiveness and the fourth was overpowered as Richardson near the goal line.
Until Sunday, the Browns didn't have a rookie running back go over 100 yards in nearly a decade (Lee Suggs, 2003). If Richardson's career progresses how the Browns' front office expects, it could be another decade for that to happen.