Trent Richardson will make his Colts debut Sunday, four days after the Browns traded him for a 2014 first-round pick. Considered the best running back available in the 2012 NFL Draft, Cleveland moved up one spot to get him third overall, presumably on the assumption that he and No. 22 pick, quarterback Brandon Weeden, would be the Browns' backfield of the future.
That lasted 17 months.
But Cleveland's loss is Indy's gain, and first-year Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton thinks Richardson was worth the price.
“It was shocking that we would have a chance to acquire such a commodity,” he said, via PFT. “I think it's just awesome. It's an awesome deal for the Colts and the Colts fans to have an opportunity to have such a special young player on the roster now.”
And Richardson isn't a two-down back who has to come off the field on third down. In addition to running over people, he's a competent pass-catcher and capable blocker.
“I almost stayed up overnight watching his season from last year, just watched his snaps of Trent in a Browns uniform,” Hamilton continued. “But I went back and watched some of his college film as well just to get a feel for what he's comfortable doing. There's no can't-dos with this guy. He's a great combination of power and speed. He has good field vision. He can play without the ball. He can catch the ball as well. I'm excited for our entire football team and the organization to be a part of a unit that has a chance to be special.”
Coach Chuck Pagano was even more effusive.
Chuck Pagano on Trent Richardson: "This guy is a rolling ball of butcher knives." READ about Richardson's arrival http://t.co/85TMTfB7w4— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) September 20, 2013
It's no secret why the Colts made this move: Vick Ballard landed on injured reserve and Ahmad Bradshaw and Donald Brown were the only other backs on the roster. Richardson gives this offense another dimension, one that should make life easier on second-year quarterback Andrew Luck. But here's the thing: In the first two games, Indy's rushing attack ranked second, according to Football Outsiders' metrics, behind only the Eagles.
The defense, meanwhile, ranks 24th. But hey, during the Peyton Manning era the Colts had plenty of success front-loading the offense at the expense of the other side of the ball. And maybe that's what we're seeing here.