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Colts fill specific needs with Richardson

Ron Schwane/USA TODAY Sports

Trent Richardson has reason to smile, as he's headed to a division-title contender.The Indianapolis Colts made a bold move on Wednesday night, trading their first-round pick in 2014 to the Cleveland Browns for running back Trent Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

The Colts now have two of the top three players selected in that draft in Richardson and quarterback Andrew Luck. They’ll look to improve on an attack that averages 3.9 yards per rush since the start of last season, 23rd-best in the NFL. One spot above them: Richardson’s former team, the Browns.

Filling needs

How will Richardson most help the Colts beyond the basic answer of leading the running game?

Goal-to-go

Richardson has scored eight rushing touchdowns in goal-to-go situations in his NFL career, fifth-most since the start of last season.

The Colts' best goal-to-go rusher during that time has been Luck, whose five touchdowns match the total from the Colts' running backs combined.

Colts RB Receiving, 2012-13

Catching the ball

Richardson's 58 receptions since the start of his rookie year in 2012 are tied for the fifth-most by a running back during that time.

Colts' running backs have caught the fewest passes in the NFL over that same time.

Richardson has 418 receiving yards since the start of the 2012 season, more than Donald Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw combined (364).

Pass Protection

Since the start of 2012 with Richardson on the field, Browns quarterbacks were sacked on 4.8 percent of dropbacks. With Richardson off the field, Browns quarterbacks were sacked on 9.4 percent of dropbacks.

Colts quarterbacks have been sacked on 6.2 percent of dropbacks since the start of last season, the ninth-highest rate in the league.

Room for improvement

Richardson has only two 20-plus yard rush plays on his 298 career rushes. Of the 25 running backs with at least 200 rushes the last two seasons, only Mikel Leshoure has fewer 20-yard plays than Richardson.

Richardson has averaged 1.6 rushing yards after contact in his NFL career, 21st among the 50 running backs with 100 rushes the last two seasons. Richardson averaged 2.8 rushing yards after contact his last season at Alabama.

Did you know?

Since 1980 the Browns have drafted five running backs in the first round. Not one rushed for 1,000 yards in a season with Cleveland. The last Browns first-round running back to rush for 1,000 yards was Mike Pruitt (drafted in 1976).

The last running back that Cleveland drafted in any round that ran for 1,000 yards in a season with the team was Earnest Byner (drafted in 1984, ran for 1,002 yards in 1985). Since Byner, the Browns have drafted 18 running backs and not one rushed for 1,000 yards in a season with them.

This is an unusual trade in this regard: The Elias Sports Bureau notes that Richardson joins defensive lineman John Matuszak as the only players since the NFL merger to be drafted within the top three picks, play their first season with the team that drafted them, and then play for another team the following season.