- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Ravens reporter
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Bill Polian, former NFL general manager and current ESPN analyst, feels the same way and calls Richardson a "perfect fit" for the Browns. But he also explores why the Browns might trade down in his latest Insider column. As Polian points out, Mike Holmgren's teams often find their running backs later in the draft or through free agency.
Here's a portion of what Polian wrote:
I can't see Richardson falling past Tampa Bay at No. 5, so if another team targets him -- and I think the St. Louis Rams at No. 6 could be such a team -- it'll need to jump up to No. 4 to secure him. That puts the ball in Cleveland's hands, and with multiple needs it could opt to pass on Richardson, move down and set its sights on CB Morris Claiborne or WR Justin Blackmon, whichever player falls to the No. 6 spot.
This scenario is more of a long shot in my mind, but given the past organizational tendencies in Cleveland and the attractiveness of Richardson as a draft prospect, it's possible the Browns could opt to add more assets (likely third-round picks) and address a need other than their backfield.
Trading back makes little sense to me. Cleveland loses more than it gains in this scenario. The Browns need an offensive playmaker more than the top defensive player in the draft (Claiborne), and they can get a wide receiver with more speed than Blackmon later in the first round. By taking Richardson at No. 4, the Browns get one of the elite players in this draft and by far the best running back in this class.
We've been debating what the Cleveland Browns should do with the fourth overall pick for months. And, like many of you already know, I'm in favor of taking Alabama running back Trent Richardson.