AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 26: Trent Richardson #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates their 42-14 win over the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
I know that the draft is still over two months away, but It is time to start playing out potential draft scenarios. With the perceived value of a running back at its lowest point in quite some time, Alabama running back Trent Richardson could easily slide on draft day. With that said, Richardson is likely far too talented to slide to number 17. This will make me unpopular, but the Bengals should make a play to move up and get Richardson. However, they should only do this if a set of certain circumstances occur.
One possibility is that the Seattle Seahawks , picking at either 11 or 12, may be looking to trade out of their pick. It is possible that Pete Carroll will want to trade down to number 17 and select Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. If Seattle looks to trade down, the Bengals should call and offer number 17 number 84, and number 116, the teams third and fourth round draft picks. The Seahawks would likely ask for a second round choice, which I would refuse to give. According to Drafttek.com's draft chart, giving up a second would be too much, but giving up a third would not be enough.Therefore, the Bengals should offer their third and a fourth, along with number 17, in order to match the value that Seattle's pick would have.
Trent Richardson is the best running back in the draft and there are few people that will argue that. The Bengals could add the top running back in this years draft after selecting the best receiver in the draft last year. I would not be opposed to waiting until pick 17 and hoping that Stanford's David DeCastro is be available, but that is highly unlikely. Another option is waiting until pick 21 to draft Boise State's Doug Martin or Miami (FL) running back Lamar Miller, or even hoping that Virginia Tech's David Wilson or Washington's Chris Polk last until the second round. I believe that we should go up and grab Richardson if the situation presents itself.
If the Bengals selected Richardson in the first and then used their second first round pick (number 21) on South Carlina cornerback Stephon Gilmore or Alabama safety Mark Barron, most would be happy with that result. The Bengals could then use their second round choice to get a guard like Wisconsin's Kevin Zeitler or Iowa State's Kelechi Osemele. If this happened, it would be well worth dealing the third and the fourth round picks. The Bengals would also still have two fifth round picks, one of the picks from New England in exchange for Chad Ochocinco.
The Bengals are in a position to shake up the draft, as ESPN draft guru Todd McShay recently said. They need to use their position to set themselves up for success. They could use the extra picks to pick up some much needed depth, but trading up for Richardson would be a quality over quantity move. I feel that it is very important to give Andy Dalton as many valuable offensive parts as possible. It is tough to beat the trio of Trent Richardson, A.J. Green, and Jermaine Gresham. I also expect the Bengals to add a Robert Meachem or a Mario Manningham in free agency to help Dalton. I understand that the shelf life for running backs is short, but I am worried about winning now. Plus, Richardson was not even the lead back for the Crimson Tide until this past season. He also has prototypical size for a running back. He weighs in at about 225 pounds, which seems to show that he is big enough to handle the pounding that a lead back takes in this league. Another plus is that Richardson has only lost one fumble in his career. Fumbling was a problem at the end of the season for Cedric Benson. Richardson also seems like he can be a three down back, as he is strong enough to hold his own in pass protection.
I may feel even stronger about trading up for Richardson if the Bengals do a good job in free agency. If the team somehow signs a guard like Carl Nicks and a corner like Tracy Porter, guard and corner would become slightly less important to shore up in the first round. This would give the Bengals even greater initiative to deal for Richardson. Even if the Bengals do not go all out in free agency, we could still get Richardson and have a good team for next year. Trent Richardson, Stephon Gilmore, and Kevin Zeitler in the first two rounds would help the Bengals contend for another divisional championship.
Whether you agree or disagree with my idea, there is no denying that many Bengals fans are more excited for free agency and the draft than ever before. With all of this cap space and draft flexibility that the Bengals have, we have every reason to be pumped!