The Cleveland Browns acquired Alabama RB Trent Richardson in last month’s NFL Draft. Analysts opined prior to the draft that Richardson was the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson, a true three down back with the power and stamina to be a featured back in the NFL. Will the Cleveland Browns utilize Richardson as a true featured back? It’s possible that the Browns plans are that he will come off the field for third downs.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer, the Browns could be looking at using Brandon Jackson as the team’s third down back because of his blitz pickups. Cleveland had planned that role for Jackson last season, but he was hampered by a bout of turf toe. You must also realize the tendencies of head coach Pat Shurmur, who has a history of removing featured backs on third downs.
I had written a piece a few weeks ago regarding Trent Richardson and his fantasy value for the 2012 season. I warned of the quarterback situation hindering Richardson’s rookie season. Now, if Richardson will indeed be coming off the field on third downs, that too will limit Richardson’s production in his rookie season. If Ms. Cabot is correct in her assumption regarding Jackson, single season fantasy owners should be careful not to over pay for Richardson in 2012. This development regarding Richardson in his rookie season should not adversely affect his value in dynasty leagues moving forward.