Scouting Report written by: Will Spencer
Trent Richardson is easily the best and most complete running back I’ve scouted since Adrian Peterson. A lock as a top 10 pick (probably top 5), it’s rare that you see a running back this special. Showed tremendous flashes during his early years at Alabama, you could always tell that Richardson was going to be an even better prospect than Mark Ingram. Richardson is the complete package; strong runner, agile, fast and can catch out of the backfield. Richardson is like a bowling ball when he runs and is very hard for a single defender to bring down. His burst through the hole is fantastic as well as his 2nd gear once he hits the edge. Overall, Richardson is a fantastic prospect with little to no downside.
Patient runner that has great instincts for when the hole is about to open. Can hit a small crease. Once he makes a decision, Richardson bursts through the hole and remains low. Displays excellent ball security while running through the middle. Can lower his shoulder to take on linebackers and rarely loses a one-on-one battle. Excellent leg drive makes him harder to bring down. Always finds a way to fall forward while being tackled, getting the extra yard. The leg drive and falling forward are two aspects of his game that are becoming more and more rare among running back prospects.
Effectively gets to the edge and can outrun linebackers if there’s a moment of hesitation. Does a great job of switching the ball to his outside hand when he gets to the outside. Excellent lateral movement allows him to freeze defenders while he quickly changes directions. Once he hits the corner, Richardson has a 2nd gear and can run away from most defenders. Is a nightmare for corners and safeties to tackle.
An effective threat to catch the ball out of the backfield though he’s going to make a living running the ball. Shows soft hands and quickly puts the ball away and turns up-field once he catches it. Understands how to utilize his blockers in screen passes. Seems very comfortable running wheel routes, screens and dumpoff routes.
Richardson is extremely hard to bring down. He runs with a low pad level and keeps his strong legs churning. Richardson tucks the ball away and rarely fumbles. Can also change directions and make defenders miss, but almost seems to seek out contact when he runs. Rarely does a single defender bring him down and he almost always seems to fall forward while being tackled.
This is the area that Richardson could use the most improvement. A willing blocker but too often goes for the cut block. Has sometimes picked up the wrong defender on blitzes. When Richardson does take on a blocker, he shows strength and uses his solid leg base to anchor.