Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Well, that's one way to spruce up the running game. I don't know that there's a back in the league worth a first-round pick, but if there is one, it's probably one with a top-five pick pedigree that's still on his rookie deal.

(Ed. note. The last running back drafted in the top 10 to not finish his second season with his drafting team was Lawrence Phillips. The Rams released him. Richardson's quite a bit better of a player.)

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206 comments, Last at 23 Sep 2013, 7:19pm

142 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Maybe they did, maybe they didn't. People tend to overestimate the value of draft picks.

Supposedly Indy based the valuation on a projected pick at 21 or 22. PFR indicates that's a guy with an average career AV of 35 or so.

Based on Richardson's rookie deal, this deal is a wash if Richardson can be Ryan Grant or Christian Okoye -- guys with a rookie year that's about a 6, with about a 6 year career, and a career AV of 35 or so. And it seems like he could be that guy.

Basically, the 21st pick isn't worth as much as you think.

147 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

You're not wrong about the valuation of draft picks, and I think Richardson likely will have a Ryan Grant-type career, but I think the relevant point is that Ryan Grant was undrafted. BenJarvus Green-Ellis undrafted. Priest Holmes undrafted. Arian Foster undrafted. Chris Ivory undrafted. Meanwhile stiffs like Mark Ingram, Mikel Leshoure, Laurence Maroney, William Green, Felix Jones, and numerous running backs from Wisconsin and Penn State are getting drafted in the first round. Running backs are more dependent on surrounding talent than anybody. If they had the line in college, they were likely overdrafted. And it obviously continues in the NFL -- if you were to switch Emmitt Smith and Blair Thomas in the 1990 draft, there's no way Smith sniffs the HoF or the rushing record, and history would be viewing Thomas much more favorably. There are much better uses of the #21 pick than trading it for a running back who has proven to be nothing special. You could have signed Jonathan Dwyer for nothing last week to get a young running back who was highly decorated in college but has proven to be nothing special.

No GM makes a draft pick in the first couple of rounds with the expectation of getting a mediocre-to-bad player, even if history has countless examples. The GM should be viewing the 21st overall pick as a way to add the next Vince Wilfork, Randy Moss, or Nate Clements -- or as a trade chip to move up.

199 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I think if he was special, he'd be running for more than 3.6 a pop behind a pretty good O-Line. It's not like Peterson or Johnson have an all-star QB threatening the D. He's a perfectly servicable RB -- maybe a top 15 guy. But if the Colts expected outcome is that Richardson will be a different back due to Luck, so would a slew of other guys that wouldn't cost a #1. IMO, they would have been better off signing McGahee for the minimum or trading a low pick for a Tashard Choice or Philip Tanner to pair with Bradshaw. They will miss that pick sorely come April.

200 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I'm not at all sure it is a pretty good o-line. It has a couple of good players on it; that's not the same thing. I would be very, very wary of underestimating the impact of context on RB production, and I don't think it's impossible that Richardson is a top 5 running back, especially once ability in the passing game is factored in. I'm not saying he is - just that we can't be certain he isn't.

109 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Only if you look at this deal in a vacuum. That first round pick will probably be in the 20s...yet they drafted the guy originally at #3 and trade up to get him. Big picture is they're cutting losses and getting the best deal they can, but it's not cleaning up trading a #3 for a #20.

163 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

He was hurt a good chunk of last year and played two games this season. All on a team with no real passing game to keep the defense honest. Awfully soon to totally throw in the towel on the third pick in the draft. But it's all good, because they'll just fire this front office after a couple years. It's the perpetual 2-year plan.

4 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Ugh. I do not like this trade. The Colts are farther away from competing for a title than just an upgrade at RB.

I think Richardson is great, I think they will get a lot of value from him on the offense (and his fantasy value just doubled), but I wish they would've traded for an o-linemen or d-back if they were looking to really shake things up dramatically and willing to spend to do so.

That pick is likely to be in the teens and that is prime real estate for getting an impact player at a position of need for the Colts.

Not too mention, Bradshaw is pretty good still! When healthy, of course, but damn.

138 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I like the upgrade in Pass Protection the most. Luck needs pass protection help like crazy, although perhaps another scheme would help just as well.

I don't know if Richardson is great, or even good.

An olineman would have been great. This does help the pass protection keeping Donald Brown off the field.

I feel more strongly that it's an interesting trade than I do about it's outcome at all.

5 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Well, I don't doubt that others on this board are more knowledgeable about Richardson than me, but this fan of a non-Colts AFC South team is not in the least happy to see Indy pick up a guy who I still strongly suspect is actually a serious talent who simply had the misfortune to start his career with the Browns.

7 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I wasn't high on Richardson coming into the draft, I thought his college production was too dependent on a great line and him breaking tackles against guys much lighter than pro defenders. But I did like him as a rookie when he played, he's a power back with good hands. The issue is his injury history, will he stay healthy.

I do think Luck will do a great job of finding him the right looks. It could work though the price is a little steep.

9 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Ugh... As a Colts fan, I don't like this trade at all. I haven't particularly followed Richardson, but with as many holes as the Colts have, a pick in the 10-15 range could be put to much better use then a RB.

76 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

As a Colts fan, I hate this trade.

I thought we did okay during this past off-season. I really liked what we brought in along the offensive and defensive lines. I was indifferent to the line backers / pass rushers. And I thought that it was smart what we did at cornerback - best case scenario we got two starters; worst case scenario we got a starter and a nickel.

However, it seems that our cornerback situation might be closer to the worst case scenario than the best. So, even though it's a long way out and many things can happen before then (like this trade), I was kind of hoping that we'd draft a cornerback in the first round next year. Then we'd have a really good set of defensive backs to accompany a front seven that (hopefully) steadily improved throughout this season. Alas, it will not be.

I hope I'm wrong and that this trade turns out to be awesome. But I fear I'm not.

84 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I'm inclined to assign at least some of the blame to that to the shittiness of the passing game. I haven't watched much Browns football of late, but I have to think if I was a defensive coordinator facing them, I would be stacking the box on the assumption that Weeden couldn't punish me for it. MJD's stats don't look too clever recently either.

13 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Just to clarify, I was initially very optimistic about grigson. His pedigree is from philadelphia, a franchise that historically is about building through the draft in mindset and being very prudent in free agency. THrough two years, grigson's moves have been worrisome, to say the least. It started with the vontae davis trade. Sure, it was a 2nd, but the team was rebuilding and wasn't in one player away mode to start trading away draft picks. Then came free agency and the lunatic contract they gave to eric walden. Furthermore, he seems to think somehow that the defense is just fine through this all. Ugh, this is shaping up to be a disaster.

22 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

It sounds like they're going to take a chance at the original McGahee.

I'm not confident the pick will be towards the 10 range as some here are predicting, since the Colts schedule is not difficult (although I almost expect them to finish 3rd in their division with Tennessee's improvement on D.)

85 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I agree, with the caveat that it perfectly well could be as high as 14 or so - because the Colts aren't anything special - or as low as 31 (because there is only one good team in the AFC, which means that any of the assorted decent ones, Colts included, could go to the Superbowl if someone gets a few breaks and knocks Denver off in the playoffs). 4th seeded Texans steal a win at Mile High in the divisional round as Watt leaves Chris Clark with PTSD . . . then go down at home to some last gasp Luck heroics. It's the stuff of nightmares, but not ones as implausible as I'd like.

119 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I doubt it.

The 5-11 the browns will probably continue to go this year isn't much worse than the Rams looked for most of Jackson's career, yet Jackson continued to put up good stats, rush for 4+ yards a carry, and look pretty good. Richardson hasn't managed to break 3.6 ypc. And he fumbles a lot. And DVOA says hes terrible. And ALY seems to think that Cleveland (for all their follies) run blocks pretty well.

113 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Main problem is I think it's too soon for anybody to have an answer to that question, even for Browns coaches who saw him in practice every day. They traded up to #3 to get him and he's gone after the second game of his second season for a pick that will probably be around #20. All to restart the rebuilding process for the umpteenth time. Only in Browns-land is that considered a win.

15 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

The ESPN posters are hating this trade for the Browns, and I'm in Cleveland, imagine what it's like here.

The Browns organization is "quitting"..."giving up the season"...My question is: Giving up what?

The failure of this franchise since their return is due to the inability to draft a QB, WR (Braylon Edwards would have been that guy but he never wanted to play here and his play by the end of his second season reflected that)and a decent pass rusher...And we have to draft them. Star-level free agents are not coming here...Which makes it harder and reduces the margin of error even smaller. Period.

i admire this current organization for at least trying to change the game a little.

47 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I mostly agree with the above post and I see the logic in the trade. It's clear that the lack of a stud QB has been holding the Browns back since their rebirth as an expansion team, so it makes sense to do whatever it takes to get one.

Still, forgive my lack of enthusiasm ...

Carmen Policy: "We're gonna build a winning team through the draft."
Butch Davis: "We're gonna build a winning team through the draft."
Phil Savage: "We're gonna build a winning team through the draft."
Mike Holmgren: "We're gonna build a winning team through the draft."
Joe Banner: "We're gonna build a winning team through the draft."

Yeah, okay, whatever you guys say ... and whatever the next guy says two years from now ...

19 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Wow. Indy really gave up a 1st for a running back not named Peterson? That's bonkers.
Brwn's fans may not like it right now, but they're set up nicely to get the player the want next year.

Except God hates Cleveland, so Richardson will obviously run for 2000yds in the remaining 14 games and the draft banned by the US Supreme Court, making the picks worthless...

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

122 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

In 2 seasons, Richardson will be on his 2nd contract if hes any good, so hes not going to be cheap, and he'll be halfway through his career as a runningback.

Frankly, if I'm a team in Indy's position, I'd much rather spend a mid first on a league average OL or DL player than on a running back, even if you were getting AP... which you're not.

The only teams that make sense to me spending large resources on RBs are teams that are already very good, and have short windows, and have nowhere else to upgrade.

90 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

"Brwn's fans may not like it right now, but they're set up nicely to get the player the want next year."

In principle, I agree. However, I can imagine that being a fan of a team that has completely sucked for a decade might make one suspicious of promises about "next year". Especially considering that the team has given up on one player (Richardson) it drafted in the 1st round a year ago, and is obviously poised to give up on the other (Weeden).

Seen through that lens, what's a 1st round pick really worth? And yes, I know there will be a different GM making this pick than the GM who picked Richardson. That tends to happen when teams are terrible for a long time.

152 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I think the consensus is that the Colts will be drafting in the 15th - 22nd range in 2014.

Chase Stuart estimates roughly 15-17 points of AV over the first 5 years of a player's career who is drafted in that range:

Trent Richardson had 6 AV as a rookie. If he gives Indy ~6 AV per season for the next 5 years, that would be about 30 AV.

Chase also calculates that 1st-round players perform worse than average (during their first 4 years in the league) between 20% and 40% of the time (depending on position - TE's bust at 21% and DE's bust at 40%).

So the Browns traded a guy likely to produce well over 17 points of AV in exchange for a 60%-80% chance of drafting somebody with an expected AV of 17.

RB fungibility is a factor here, but I think the chances are slim that the player the Browns take will outproduce Richardson over the next 5 years.

153 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Couple of comments here.

If he put up 6AV every year, he'd have a CAV of 27, not 30. (CAV is 100% of best year, .95 of second, etc).

Second, CAV/AV is a terrible stat for judging pretty much anyone but the most elite. It has nowhere near the granularity that you (or that article) try to ascribe to it. CAV of 10 and 25 are essentially indistinguishable. Its simply not meant to deal with players on that level.

It also uses games played as a part of determining points, which means that it rewards shitty players for making shitty rosters, and penalizes decent players for not seeing the field on good teams.

It also assumes that RBs are worth 10% of an offense, and with how fungible most RBs are, the difference between a replacement RB and a good one are nowhere near that high. AP may be worth 10% of his team's offensive value, but almost nobody else is. The average team has about 33% of their yards in rushing, and I'd argue that upwards of 80% of that is something other than the RB (Line, QB, WR blocking, etc).

158 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I'm not talking about career AV. I'm only talking about AV in first 5 seasons.

Unless I'm reading it wrong, Chase's calculations are not using the weighted AV

Although it looks like he's only using AV above 2av per year. So Richardon's AV above 2 for 2012 is 4 (not 6).

21 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

If you look at it from the standpoint of the horrible decision to trade up for Richardson being a sunk cost, it is hard not like this for the Browns. They should get a mid first rounder for this. I also don't think this is awful for the Colts, after all (right or wrong) the first RB selection in the draft probably goes before whatever pick this ends up being.

184 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Exactly, re: sunk cost. As a Ravens fans, this trade makes me glum because of what it says about the Browns front office: that they are now bold and smart.

The trade may not work out, but it's exactly the kind of move that team needs to make: take their most tradeable asset and turn it into a 1st rd pick, maximize their chances of getting a team-changing player like a franchise QB. Cold-blooded, because of the criticism they are going to take over it. I really admire this move. I only think they only have a 50/50 chance the move will work. But their chances of becoming a championship contender as currently configured were much lower, in the 0-5% range.

This is funny to say, coming from a fan of a team with a double-digit win streak vs Cleveland, but that roster is not terrible. They have a good O-line, and decent-to-good defensive personnel. They've often had excellent spec teams play – Josh Cribbs was awesome, he beat pretty much single-handedly beat the Ravens in Baltimore in 2007 (the FG doink game). Their games against the Ravens are always close and hard-fought. The Brownies are not globally bad. But they have absolutely no way on offense to punish mistakes. Compare to Denver: you miscommunicate in converage one time, or miss one tackle, and Demaryius Thomas is in the end zone. With Cleveland, you can screw around for an entire half of football, and still need just a single touchdown to take the lead, as the Ravens did this past wkend. You're never out of it against them, because they can't score.

A good QB and WR could dramatically transform that team.

30 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

The Browns and Vikings have essentially the same DAVE. The Jags are right now significantly worse than either of those two. This only makes the Browns worse in the short term (and I think the Vikings will look better in a few weeks). Jags/Browns could rank as bad as those mid-80's Bay of Pigs fuglies between the Pack and Bucs.

87 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Right. Whatever DAVE says, I don't believe the Vikings are anywhere near as bad as the Browns, and I do believe the Browns have at any rate an outside chance of rivaling the Jags in the futility stakes (though they'll probably have more wins given their schedules, regardless of actual quality).

88 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Right. Whatever DAVE says, I don't believe the Vikings are anywhere near as bad as the Browns, and I do believe the Browns have at any rate an outside chance of rivaling the Jags in the futility stakes (though they'll probably have more wins given their schedules, regardless of actual quality).

26 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I love it for the Colts and only mildly dislike it for the Browns. The Colts weren't going to get someone like Richardson at #15 next year. They have Luck for 15 years, they have plenty of time in future drafts to fill other holes.

Indy's pick will probably end up around #15 or so. There are a lot of busts taken there. They gave up a first for a running back. For people saying that is a bad idea, I'm assuming that means you would never draft a running back in the first round ? Maybe, but there are lots of NFL teams that don't agree with that.

For people bashing Grigson, keep in mind this probably came from Irsay. Being able to say no to your owner is part of a GM's job I guess, but what the boss says usually happens in the end.

For the Browns, they lost with Richardson, they can lose without him. I seriously doubt that they get a player of his quality in return though. There are top 15 picks that are out of the league in a few years. Even if Richardson isn't great, he's at least a starter in the NFL.

32 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

If its not Grigson's call, then he should never have accepted the job at all. Which gm likes to be beholden to the owner? And btw, here are the biggest problems I have with this trade:

1) Future firsts are abstract so its hard to evaluate their value right now. What if at 15 a great receiver or defensive end manages to fall to them because of runs on qb? Then we lose out on that.

2) RB is not that impactful a position. Sorry but take a look at the winning teams around the league and maybe 3 have good running backs. The rest are based off passing the ball

3) Rbs are fungible. Maybe you won't land a hall of famer, but you can get pretty decent return on a mid level running back

4) richardson has looked like a bust so far so I'm not sure this is anything more than wishful thinking on the colts part.

5) This does nothing to solve the holes on defense which are far more pressing than the running back situation.

41 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

RBs are less fungible than people often think.

Patriots let Curtis Martin walk and it took nearly a decade to replace him with an equivalent player. And Corey Dillon only played at that level for one season.

Having said that, I agree with #2 in that the rules as currently enforced make rushing at best a weak second option to the passing game.

67 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Well, they haven't won a Super Bowl since Corey Dillon retired...

Against median-level run defenses, the Patriots do quite well. Against top-level run defenses, the Patriots get nowhere. And that ends up putting a lot of pressure on the passing game. The teams that have stopped the Patriots in the playoffs in recent years (Giants, Jets, Ravens) have done so by physically over-matching them at the line of scrimmage.

80 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I'm surprised how you can take this outlook on the pats. Since their last SB, they have made the playoffs every year except 1. They went to 4 afc champ games since then and two super bowls. And in those 2 super bowl losses, they were very close. By most measures, they have been wildly successful and I don't think the reasons they haven't won it all can be chalked up to having mediocre rushers.

104 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

That wasn't really my initial argument. My argument was "running backs aren't fungible."

Whether "running backs are essential" is a different argument.

I think the Patriots have hurt their ability to beat elite teams by making the transition from a defense-and-running team to a passing-weaker defense team.

But that's a third point.

Since the Super Bowl XLII, they've been 3-4 in the playoffs.

Have they been hurt by not having a better RB in recent seasons? Not as much has by having a weak secondary. But certainly having a better RB would have helped in many of those games.

168 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Ask Eagles fans who had to watch their Reid teams blow 2nd half leads in multiple NFC championship games. Those losses were due in large part to the team's inability to run the ball to move the chains and eat clock.

By definition, weaknesses are more likely to be exposed against good teams than average teams. And frankly, given the NFL's do or die playoff system, those weaknesses are often the reason why teams lose playoff games. In those SB losses, I imagine that the NE coaching staff would've loved to have a potent running game.

176 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I think their running game was fine. I suspect the far greater issue in 2011 was that they didn't have anybody to make the Giants defend the deep part of the field. In 2007, they simply got out-played, out-coached, and for one defining play, out-lucked.

I think the woes of the running game have more to do with the playcaller's unwillingness to commit to it than any lack of skill on the running back's part.

123 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

"Well, they haven't won a Super Bowl since Corey Dillon retired..."

Neither have about 25 other teams. Thomlinson never won one. AP will never win one. Chris Johnson didn't win one in the 3 years he was good. Steven Jackson never won one.

Honestly, I'm having trouble coming up with a great runningback in the last 15 years or so to get a SB ring, other than Dillon.

134 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

If you're really going back 15 years, and if Dillon is considered an example of "great", then I would name Marshall Faulk, Terrell Davis, Jerome Bettis and Warrick Dunn. Maybe Ray Rice too.

Also, just to be a smart alec, since you said "get" a Super Bowl ring instead of "win", I'll throw Edgerrin James in there as well. :)

53 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

You are correct that it took the Pats a long time to replace Curtis Martin. It only took them four years to win a Super Bowl, and that's because they found a franchise-level quarterback. There are possibly 3-4 franchise quarterbacks in next year's draft. So the Browns hopefully get one with the Colts pick. The Colts have a quarterback; what they need are linemen, and a defense. Richardson won't help with either of those.

54 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

They did not have a franchise qb when they won their first sb and arguably didn't have one who was elite when they won their second either. The larger point I was making was, running games themselves are overrated if you don't field a competent passing game or competent defense. And elite running backs, while rare, simply aren't on margin much better for a team than an elite qb or really most elite positions. The difference between peyton or brady and say, cutler, is huge. The difference between AP and say bernard pierce is big but not detrimentally so.

57 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Um sorry, they had soooo much trouble that after not winning a title with Martin, they won two without out him and then squeezed out a third as a back to back win in Dillons first year there. The point is not that its easy to replace a top level RB, jts that a top level RB does not translate into team success. The Pats never won a Super Bowl recently with a top flight RB, nor the Steelers, nor the Packers, nor the Giants. But Tomlinson, Peterson, Martin, Alexander are sitting at home on meaningless rushing titles. I hate it, but the running game is extinct.

68 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

"The point is not that its easy to replace a top level RB, jts that a top level RB does not translate into team success."

That's a different point, and not one I was addressing.

If the argument is that you can replace Curtis Martin by bringing in Tom Brady instead, well, there's something to that. But it's not easy to find Tom Bradys lying around.

The running game is far less useful than it was 15-20 years ago, and that's not a good development for the NFL. I wish the league hadn't gone down this path of making it harder and harder to play pass defense, but that's something they've done.

148 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

i don't buy that the National Arena Football League is a product of rule changes. i think it's more a natural outcome of the game's strategic evolution over time.

it's just like when people thought the home run explosion of the 1920s was due to the "juiced ball", or the home run explosion of the 90s came from steroids. with any major strategic shift in a sport, there's always going to be tactical advances and other organic changes that get overlooked in favor of the easy narrative.

in this case i actually think you can blame some of this on the very website we're on right now! i suspect 2006 in particular was the watershed moment - FO's research on RB fungibility & the Curse of 370 started to gain traction, the Cardinals gave Edgerrin James the big contract that blew up in their faces, while the team that let Edge go finally won the SB with scraps at RB and turned the whole "you have to run the ball and stop the run" script completely on its head. that's the kind of stuff that leaves a lasting impression on front offices.

i think it's possible that the caliber of athlete at many other positions (e.g. LB, DE, OT, WR, TE) has become higher relative to that at RB as a result of things like this. i suspect that coaches/management don't want their best athletes at RB anymore like they used to, and said athletes are discouraged from becoming RBs since it's become one of the lower-paid positions.

there's far more i could say here, but this post is way too long as it is. i just want to add that i'm not pretending the recent rule changes don't matter at all - i think it's a real factor, but i think even without them you still wouldn't want to take RBs in the first 3 rounds of your fantasy draft anymore. it would still be the National Arena Football League, just a tad less arena-y.

45 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

"Sorry but take a look at the winning teams around the league and maybe 3 have good running backs."

Last year's playoff teams:

New England - Ridley
Houston - Foster
Indianapolis - Ballard
Baltimore - Rice
Cincinnati - BGE
Denver - McGahee/Moreno

Washington - Morris
Green Bay - Quagmire
Minnesota - Peterson
Atlanta - Turner
Seattle - Lynch
San Francisco - Gore

Of the 12 teams, I'd say five have clear "good" RBs (Gore, Rice, Peterson, Foster, Lynch) while Ridley and Morris were good last year, albeit as somewhat fungible commodities.

Not sure your claims holds.

50 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Is gore really great? Or is it his o line. Considering Kendall hunter was as effective in his snaps, I think its implied that he's not exactly special. Ditto for bernard pierce with baltimore. Ray rice actually had a down year for the ravens last year. Of the teams you mentioned, the only backs I would say are special and losing them would have been really problematic would have been peterson, lynch, and foster - hence 3.

75 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

"Having good blockers helps alot"

The problem is trying to separate the running back from the line. Tom Selleck above is convinced Richardson sucks because he was horrible behind a horrible offensive line. I pointed out Lynch as an example of a player who was horrible behind a horrible offensive line and all the sudden became great became a good offensive line. Unless folks believe in magical improvements in capability after year four, one must acknowledge that the FO stats don't yet break apart the RB from the OL.

72 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

If Lynch isn't "anything special" then who the f&*k is? He's finished 3rd and 2nd in DVOA the past two seasons and has done nothing but be a dominant force in Seattle's offense. Who in the league is better than him? ADP? OK. McCoy? Maybe. Rice? I don't think so. Foster? Maybe. Is there anyone else even in the conversation.

Seriously, Lynch being "nothing special" is a spectacular statement. He is a top 5 back and I don't see how it's up for that much debate.

74 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

And to follow up as two people have claimed that Gore and Lynch aren't anything special. Here are the top 10 in RB DYAR last season:


And the top 10 in DVOA:


So if Lynch and Gore are pedestrian, then who qualifies as good? ADP obviously. Spiller? Martin? Charles? Bradshaw who was offered barely any money in FA and just superseded by this trade?

77 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I claimed gore wasn't anything special. Not lynch. I think lynch is excellent and one of the few elite backs. The reasons I say gore isn't is because he was fairly mediocre for a long period before finally having a resurgence, which not coincidentally, came when the 49ers had harbaugh and the offensive line improved drastically. That coupled with kendall hunter basically being just as good in relief duty made me question how special he is. But lynch is great.

The bigger issue that everyone seems to just blow past much is lost if you replace a great runner with a decent runner. Sure, there's a loss, it probably is painful, but its not the kind of death nail you feel when you lose a qb. Ask seattle fans, would you rather lose lynch or sherman? How about lynch of earl thomas. Or Wilson? Maybe even Okung? I mean, i think the seahawks could lose lynch and I would still consider them the favorite in the NFC(albeit, very slight favorite).

186 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Gore has been good from the first day he stepped on the field. He was good when the OLine was bad, he was great when the OLine got better.
Kendall Hunter may become as good as Gore some day but he is not yet. Nor does it take anything away from Gore that Kendall Hunter is a good running back.
If you want to make comparisons for "behind the same line" how about picking Kevin Barlow, Anthony Dixon, DeShaun Foster, Glen Coffee as examples?

124 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

DVOA and DYAR make no attempt to seperate out Running Back and OLine performance. Gore having a high DVOA says that the 49ers run offense is good when he runs that ball, not that he is good.

Its kinda like BenJarvus Green-Ellis being good with the Patriots, and then roughly replacement level with the Bengals. He didn't get worse, the people around him did. And the 49ers have some pretty damn good people around Gore.

60 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

@theslothook, I'm a little more optimistic about this than you, for the reasons below.
1) Future picks are always risky (Tony Ugoh, the season we took three centers, etc.) TR is proven to be solid at the very least. In investment terms, a TON of the unknown risk is removed, and that makes a slightly lower "return" acceptable. A lot of his sunk costs are borne already by others, making him cheaper than next year's #15 pick.
2) I agree it's a passing universe, but who are the top teams from last year? I give you the Seahawks (Lynch) Niners (Gore) Ravens (Rice/Pierce) and Texans (Foster/Tate) for starters. They all benefitted from solid run games. A good runner does not make a team bad, and can help a team be good. A good QB is vastly more important but Indy has that already. And a plethora of targets for him to throw to. (Yes, no replacement for #87 on roster yet)
3) Yes, RBs are fungible, and the Colts now have three starter-caliber RBs. It's not bad, just weird. And probably not roster efficient.
4) You may be right (Erik Walden, anybody?) but consider his bust status through this filter: He played for Cleveland, a team with no QB, and played 15 games last year with two broken ribs. Had a year a bit better than Ballard did. Now playing without broken ribs and with Luck, he should do better.
Strangely, we traded for Walden after he had a career game against us in 2012, but Richardson against Indy last year only gained about 8 yards. Hah! Maybe they were using reverse-Walden psychology.
5) Agreed 100%. I think there are other ways we could improve the team in a more meaningful way, but I don't think this is bad. If in ten years we look back on it and say He really helped Luck's progress by being a good blocker and passing option (57 catches last year) then it's a good thing, even if he never averages 4.2 YPC.

He is not THE answer, but I think it was an improvement for 2013 and maybe for the longer term view. Next year's 15th pick (or whatever) is still a hit or miss proposition. And who knows, Grigson might have saved this season and with three starter quality RBs on the roster next year, we might be able to pull off a similar trade to offload one of them for a pick or a position of greater need... Or since they all have some injury history, we may just have one really super RB between the three of them.

I'm optimistic.

79 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I can accept your optimism and your reasons, but the positives and potentials don't outweigh the negatives imo. The point isn't that a mid round draft pick could be a bust, the point has value that I think is worth more than a good runner. Personally, I wouldn't use a high pick on a running back maybe ever. How many times have we seen serviceable runners acquired in later rounds. Anything short of LT, AP type players and I don't think they are worth it. This roster really didn't need a rusher. It has a mediocre/competent enough runner in Bradshaw. What the team needs is defense and wide receiver I think.

Nate Dunlevy mentioned this on the colts blog when Pagano was hired. Pagano stated he wanted to win by running the ball and stopping the run and Nate was hoping(much like the rest of us) that this would be merely lip service. After all, one doesn't even need to look that far back to realize how ineffective this pairing is. Pass the ball and stop the pass. Well? judging from the moves, the colts really were being sincere about their desires. That depresses me.

155 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I share your and Nate's depression regarding the apparent return of 1950's football. Two of the ways that can be averted are either we run and stop the run well and predictably still end up 8-8 a few years making the lightbulb come on for Irsay and he DEMANDS a change... or Luck audibles the hell out of half the runs called and has enough success that they can't be mad. He has the talent mentally and physically, as well as the surrounding cast (except for OL), but does he have the temperament to defy stupid play calling? Or to paraphrase Nick Fury from the Avengers movie, "Coach, I recognize the staff has called a play, but given that it's a stupid-ass play, I've elected to ignore it." That's more of a Kenny Stabler thing to say, not Luck. So far.

27 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

This is one of those trades that looks like a bad deal for Indianapolis. Indianapolis wants to be the classic Pittsburgh Steelers, great defense, possession running game, dominate the time of possession. The personnel they have to work with does not support any part of that model. Richardson does not appear to be a great or even adequate at yards after contact and the offensive line Indianapolis has is mediocre at best. If Richardson should work out when does his rookie deal expire; the same time as Andrew Luck.

It does not make any sense when teams do this; draft for a particular "look" rather than going with what they have. Face it, they are going to fire their coach (and general manager) a long time before they get rid of Luck and in the interim they are not going to use his skills to best advantage.

33 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

dudes, why are you continuing to talk about richardson like hes anything but an awful running back? he is TERRIBLE. he was outside of the top 32 RBs in both DYAR and DVOA, behind such luminaries as shonn greene, felix jones, and of course, vic ballard and bradshaw. both these guys rated as top 32 RBs in both metrics, meaning they are starting quality. bradshaw was top 10. meanwhile, cleveland RBs underperformed the ALY by a wider margin than any team, the majority of which richardson contributed. to add insult to injury, he has degenerative knees. his rookie deal will prove to be his richest. book it. this is such an awful deal for indy. cleveland CRUSHED

48 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Same exact thing could have been said about Marshawn Lynch. He was terrible by Football Outsiders' metrics for 4 seasons, ranking outside the top 39 in DOVA his last two seasons in Buffalo. Immediately upon moving to Seattle, he somehow jumps 12th in DVOA (2nd in DYAR) and followed that up with an even better season (3rd DVOA, 2nd DYAR). Was he anything but a terrible RB in Buffalo?

78 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

A few things to consider. Firstly, its not a given where the pick is. The pick itself is a fungible liquid commodity. It could be packaged and then used to acquire a bigger talent up in the draft. Or it could be used to move down and acquire more draft picks. It could also be valuable if a really good player happens to fall. I mean, its flexible and liquid. Furthermore, it can be allocated to positions that I think are far more impactful to the team than a running back. And finally, the running game wasn't anywhere near the colts biggest problem, which I would argue is defensive line, linebackers, corners, get the picture.

95 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

"The pick itself is a fungible liquid commodity. It could be packaged and then used to acquire a bigger talent up in the draft."

I suspect that might be the direction the Browns are thinking. Take the top 5 pick they're likely to earn, package it with this pick (probably in the teens) and maybe some other stuff to try to make a run at a real franchise QB prospect. They tried to do exactly that with RG3 before settling for Weeden. Perhaps they don't want to be out-bid again.

150 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

We're a long way from knowing exactly where the Browns pick will be, although I think we agree that it'll be pretty early.

And at the risk of setting off a laughing fit, I'll even say we're a long way away from knowing where the Jaguars will be picking. Chad Henne is less terrible than Blaine Gabbert. And when you're down into the bottom of the standings, one fluke win can knock you out of the #1 spot. The year when the Colts started 0-13, they still only got the #1 pick on a tiebreaker.

117 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Here are the last 5 players chosen with the 15th pick in the NFL Draft: Kenny Vaccaro, Bruce Irvin, Mike Pouncey, Jason Pierre-Paul, Brian Cushing.

Here are the last 5 players chosen with the 20th pick in the NFL Draft: Kyle Long (Chicago), Kendall Wright, Adrian Clayborn, Kareem Jackson, Brandon Pettigrew.

139 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

As do I. That's just lunacy. You could argue that a good guard is worth more than a top-5 RB (and still I'd disagree -- and I do think that RBs are mostly fungible), but a below average guard? The guys that the FO is trying to replace the second they make the roster. No.

An elite guard? OK. I won't disagree that Carl Nicks is more important to an offense's success than Matt Forte or Doug Martin or whomever you think the #5 RB is. But a below average guard needs to be replaced. The #5 RB in the league absolutely does not.

178 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

No, you clearly don't, because you seem to think that teams are trying to replace all their below average starters. Teams often extend guys who are below average, because getting an upgrade would be too expensive.

Anyone who is above replacement level, and on a reasonable contract is valuable.

182 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

That's not true at all. Replacement level means that you could sign a free agent off the street and get the same production. Being marginally better than that rarely helps a team.

Any player who is between replacement level and average, the front office is looking to find a better player. Every front office wants all their starters to be average or better, if that's a difficult thing to accomplish.

203 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Nobody said "marginally better than replacement level"

There's a big gap between replacement level and average.

" Every front office wants all their starters to be average or better"

Of course they do, but there's not a single team in the league that has every starter average or better.

193 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

If they look for an upgrade and decide it is too expensive, then they're still trying to replace the below-average starter.

And every team serious about winning should be trying to upgrade below-average starters. Like you say, sometimes the cost makes an upgrade less valuable, but the good front offices are able to identify above-average players that can be signed to reasonable contracts.

177 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

"The guys that the FO is trying to replace the second they make the roster. No."

FOs aren't trying to replace below average starters the second they make the roster. Below average players often play long careers.

The idea that everyone has above average starters is just silly. I stick by my statement. A guard who can start on an NFL team is worth more than a very good runningback.

Decent runningbacks are just too easy to find.

179 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

And I'll stick by my statement, which is that every NFL team is always trying to upgrade below average starters. To think otherwise is silly. Which GM out there thinks to himself "Johnson over there is a below average player, but we shouldn't try to get a better one to replace him"?

By definition, every player can't be above average. My five year old knows that, and he isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. That isn't inconsistent with a GM trying to get a better player instead.

Your statement, if you don't mind me filling in the mad-lib, is that Brandon Moore is a more valuable player to an NFL team than Doug Martin. I think that is an absurd statement -- you can pick up a dozen Brandon Moore's as undrafted free agents. I suppose reasonable minds can disagree.

201 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

Let me just jump in to say I agree with you in principle, but Brandon Moore is a really bad example. He wasn't a below average guard at any time in the recent past and probably would still be above average if he were playing today. He certainly would've improved the Dallas OL. The reason he isn't playing in Dallas is because his family is in NJ and he's not desperate for money. You're very lucky if you can find one above average guard who plays for a decade and never gets hurt. You certainly can't find a dozen even if you drafted them all in the first round.

39 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

As a Browns fan I kind of like the trade, though I have some reservations about it. To be honest, T-Rich has looked really terrible. My assessment of him during his time on the Browns is that he looked slow and lacked burst. Of course, I fully realize that it could just be that he was on a lousy team, and that on a good team he might prove to be a stud.

It makes no difference for this year, of course. The Browns are going absolutely nowhere, with or without Richardson. They look like a 2-14 or 3-13 team. So I guess it makes sense to drop-kick this miserable season and try to stockpile picks for the future. Still, we've been hearing the old swan song about building a brighter future for 15 years now, and look where we are. When is this bright future going to arrive, in the 22nd century?

44 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

The idea that the Browns are a horrible team doesn't strike me as correct. Going into the season they seemed like about a 7 win team, and their play in the first two games hasn't contradicted that. Their defense has been very stout (allowing 4.2 YPP), Weedon had a couple of tipped balls that turned into INTs during the Dolphins game, and lost a close game to the Ravens in Baltimore where it's tough to win. They also didn't have Josh Gordon for the first couple games as well, who will surely help their passing attack.

46 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

I agree completely--they were 0-2 against two good (possibly 9-7ish) teams under the circumstances mentioned.

Their outlook may not change much for the worse if they pick an adequate RB up.

Things can always change over a few weeks; they looked like a 1-15 team in 2009 and then won 4 in a row, for instance.

Part of me says they need to bottom out, though, especially since I'm not ready to trust Lombardi with picks outside the very top (or even the very top i.e. JaMarcus.)

52 Re: Colts Trade First-Rounder for Trent Richardson

T-Rich ran like a tentative, mincing fraidy-cat the last two games. granted, the o-line has been banged up and inept, gordon hasn't played, and weeden has looked like every other Browns QB from the last decade. but still. he's got Brandon Jacobs-itis. He's a power back who's dancing in the hole. That Grigson panicked or Irsay got a wild hair up his butt and knee -jerked away a 1st round pick for a RUNNING BACK in 2013 is really great for the Browns.

Still, Ben Muth rightly warns that if JAX or OAK prove to be better at tanking, we could end up with either Clowney or some QB not currently playing at Louisville (or, GDFRBD, TAMU).