As a few of you may know, I am a full believer in DeCastro and think he will easily be the best available player at our pick. But I got to thinking earlier today about Trent Richardson and what he could really offer us. I mean, so many mock drafts think that we should get this guy. There is obviously a reason for it.
First off, he's a weight room animal. He bench presses more than the average freshman offensive lineman (known max around 490 pounds), squats well over 600 pounds, and can power clean around 370 pounds. Combine that with his 4.5 speed (it's not outstanding, but he can breakaway) and you have yourself a physical freak.
Second, he has an ideal frame for an NFL bruiser. He's 5'11 and around 230 pounds (a very lean 230 pounds). He's got thighs like Earl Campbell and is well known for having one of the most powerful documented stiff-arms by a running back ever, and is also known for an incredibly low center of gravity and amazing balance that makes him a nightmare to bring down due to mismatches. Anybody too tall can't get low enough to get a good hit on him without slipping off, and anybody too small will just get overpowered by his brutish strength.
Third, he's proven that he's a versatile player that can take a lot of punishment. He had over 1,900 total yards this season and also returned kicks! He gets a lot of carries and rarely gets injured. He's also a very effective pass-blocker and can take over Jones' spot as the pass-blocking specialist.
But how does he really fit our scheme, and this team in general? This is where I get a little iffy on Trent. He's played behind a massive wall of meat in Alabama and it will probably take a little getting used to our puny line (one of the many reasons to bulk up. Doesn't hurt Jamaal and makes our line more versatile for different types of runners). However, Trent isn't solely a power back. He shows great awareness and can find any hole in the line, and has good agility and explosiveness to get there before it closes up. We won't give anything away when he or Jamaal check in for each other because we can run the same type of plays that we do with Jamaal with Richardson. Besides, can you really think of a better compliment to Jamaal than Richardson?
Also, we just brought in Daboll to be the OC (a move I approve of, BTW), and he has a history of bigger, meatier PBS. He had A big, fairly efficient line in Cleveland in 2010 and got the most out of the guys who played, and he had another big line that paved the way for Reggie Bush to go for over 1,000 yards and for rookie Daniel Thomas to have some good games, and also kept Matt Moore relatively clean. People say we shouldn't use a PBS because we have small RB's, but look at the best small RB's. When Chris Johnson ran for over 2,000 yards, he had a power line. Same with Ladanian Tomnlinson, Thurman Thomas, Marshall Faulk and many others. A small RB can do just fine with a bruising line, and having a brusing line allows a bigger back to fit right in as well.
Of course, the argument that if we draft Richardson we can't draft DeCastro/Reiff/Martin. This is of course the most obvious reason. Why pick an early round RB prospect like T-Rich when we already have a good running game and can grab an RB later? After all, we'd pass up on who could be the next elite guard/tackle. These are obviously good reasons, but if all goes well we could also pick up Mike Adams in the 2nd Round and hopefully sign a guy like Carl Nicks, Ben Grubbs, or Louis Vasquez to play LG. This makes our line bigger and a little bit more promising in that we already know what we're getting in Nicks/Grubbs/Vasquez.
Once again, I am not on the Richardson bandwagon, I'm just bringing up topics for discussion.
But again, why pass up on other guys who we really need when we can grab a good RB later? Maybe a guy like...
Chris Polk(5'11, 224 pounds, Washington)?
He's a versatile, accomplished back who plays behind a sub-par offensive line but does a lot with what he's got. He's a physical runner who really runs behind his pads, but also has flashes of breakaway speed. However, he has gotten quite a few injuries, not something we really need. He will most likely be available in the second round and could potentially be available in the 3rd.
Lamar Miller (5'11, 212 pounds, Miami)?
It's quite the stretch he lasts to us in the second round... like a real big stretch. But if'n he does, he would be a great choice. He's mainly a speedy back, but knows how to play rough and is relatively tough to bring down. He is pretty durable and would be an excellent pick.
David Wilson (5'11, 205 pounds, Virginia Tech)?
Mainly known for his blazing speed and sudden cuts and movement, David Wilson is basically the kind of guy you'd want behind our line. Picks his holes quickly and runs through them like a light beam. Has problems with ball security however (a relatively silent problem for the Chiefs this past season, fortunately) and does get knicked up some. He will be available later.
Isaiah Pead (5'10, 193 pounds, Cincinnati)?
Isaiah always appears to me like he wishes he was bigger. He's a very small guy but shows endless amounts of sheer physical toughness that you don't always get out of a little player like him. Sure, he's got the speed and agility of a elusive back like Barry Sanders or something, but he's also got this confusing kind of contact-seeking mentality that would really throw you off if you were just tuning into the game. He takes pride in the blue-collar facets of his game, like blocking and pounding it in on the goalline and really knows how to finish off a run by putting someone on their arse. Combine those attributes with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl and surely great measurables, and his stock skyrockets.
Vick Ballard (5'11, 217 pounds, Mississippi State)?
Terrance Ganaway (6'0, 241 pounds, Baylor)?
Terrance is one of those weird Bam Morris/Donnell Bennett esque tweeners between fullback and halfback. He's a big, powerful guy who kind of lacks explosion but REALLY knows how to push a pile and convert short-yardage situations. He was reportedly over 250 pounds a few months ago, but has worked to get rid of that gut and has cut his weight down some. That's always good.