Yardbarker Horiz

2012 NFL Draft Countdown

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Blount and Richardson could share the backfield

With the fifth pick in the upcoming draft, many prognosticators have elected to peg the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the selection of CB Morris Claiborne from LSU. This makes it all the more fun to talk about other options.

One possibility is running back Trent Richardson from the University of Alabama.  Richardson seems to be considered (pre-combine) one of the top two overall talents this year (with the other being Claiborne).  At 5'11" and 225 lbs, he has the prototypical size of an NFL tailback.

With LeGarrette Blount on the roster this would seem to be a odd move.  But the Buccaneers could make it work.  A pro-set with split backs comes to mind, or mixed formations like the Alstott/Dunn tandem from the turn of the century, with Blount becoming more of a fullback (think "inside tailback") and Richardson being the speed (think "edge tailback").

The only thing which gives pause to this idea is the passing game.  It was widely reported that Blount was unable to catch on to the passing schemes of departed offensive coordinator Greg Olson.  However, a new system and a new, simpler scheme could make those concerns disappear quickly.  Blount showed last season he can be a receiver out of the backfield by catching 15 passes for 149 yards.    Richardson also has shown promise as a pass catcher by snaring 29 passes for 338 yards last season (full stat sheet).

If the Buccaneers are still not comfortable with Blount and pass protection, they have been grooming Kregg Lumpkin for the 3rd down back role, plus undrafted free agent RB Mossis Madu from Oklahoma showed promise last season.  Richardson could be spelled by Earnest Graham, provided Graham has a solid recovery and rehabilitation get him back in prime shape for the upcoming season.

Picking Richardson at #5 would give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a backfield of outstanding young runners comparable to any tandem in the league.  If new Head Coach Greg Shiano is looking for a dominating running attack, this may be the right way to go with the first selection of his NFL career.

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