Richardson carries lofty expectations

Posted by Vic Carucci on June 20, 2013 – 11:03 pm

By Vic Carucci, Senior Editor

You’ve got questions and comments that you submit to the Browns’ official Facebook and Twitter pages, and Daily@ClevelandBrowns.com. Here’s what I have to say about what you have to say:

Randal says: “As a one-time potential Heisman candidate, NCAA national champion and third overall pick in the 2012 draft, should Browns fans expect more than 1,000 yards from Trent Richardson each year and should he be one of the league’s leading rushers? If he doesn’t produce impressive numbers, should he be labeled as an underachiever based on his college resume? Finally, what are the Browns expecting from their high-draft-pick running back?”

I say: Yes, Randal, the expectations for Richardson are lofty, to say the least.

And I think it has much more to do with his draft status than his college credentials, although what he did at Alabama obviously had plenty to do with where he was chosen. Had the Browns not traded up from No. 4 to select Richardson at No. 3, I’d still believe that the bar for him would be set extremely high because that’s how it is with any top-five choice.

It is especially true for a running back, because we’ve seen multiple instances of players at that position enter the NFL with considerably less fanfare and have sensational rookie seasons. We saw that last year from Alfred Morris, who joined the Washington Redskins last year as a sixth-round draft pick and finished second in the league with 1,613 yards.

The fact Richardson ranked 18th with 950 yards was a disappointment. Knee and rib injuries contributed to his inability to break 1,000 yards, but they are quickly forgotten by the majority of critics who focus on where Richardson was drafted and what he did in college.

Like it or not, that is the burden with which Richardson has to live. And I’m afraid that, yes, his falling short of 1,000 yards in 2013 would be viewed as underachievement.

The Browns’ expectations for Richardson aren’t any different than those of fans and media. They intend for him to be a major contributor to their offense, and coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner will do their part to put Richardson in the best position possible to perform better than he did as a rookie.

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