BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Armed with 13 picks, Cleveland Browns general manager Tom Heckert said last week he had “ammunition” entering the draft.
Thursday he fired the first shot of the evening.
Heckert made sure to secure the top player on their draft board – Alabama running back Trent Richardson – by acquiring the third overall pick from the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a fourth, fifth and seventh round picks.
They believe Richardson, who helped carry the Crimson Tide to a national title by rushing for a school single-season record 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns, to be the cornerstone for their offense for years to come.
“He’s passionate. He’s productive. He’s durable and he’s the kind of runner we feel is going to help us get our offense together to score the points that we need to win the games that we’re going to win,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. “He’s a terrific runner.”
Shurmur added that the Browns were convinced that another team was prepared to jump in front of them to take Richardson so they made the move.
Richardson was ecstatic that the Browns moved up to get him.
“I can’t explain it to you,” Richardson said. “It’s bigger than winning my national championship. There is no more hard work for my mom. The feeling I got right now is incredible, I’m on cloud nine.
“I’m high on life right now.”
He is expected to carry the load for an offense that ranked 28th league-wide on the ground last season.
“He’s a terrific player and he’s going to be a really fine addition,” Shurmur said. “He’s going to be one of those players who are fans will be able to watch run the ball for a lot of years.”
Richardson received First Team All-SEC and All-American honors, was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year and received the Doak Walker Award which is given to the nation’s top running back. He was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
He is the first running back that the Browns selected in the first round since the team drafted William Green out of Boston College 16th overall in 2002.
“Dependability in a player is very important,” Shurmur said. “The other guys on the team, the coaches, our fans, they need to know that our players are going to show up. I’ve seen this in this player.”
Richardson is also the highest back selected by the Browns in franchise history.
Hall of Famer Jim Brown, who earlier in the day called Richardson “ordinary,” was taken sixth in 1957.
Richardson wasn’t bothered one bit by Brown’s comments.
“I don’t have a reaction to it because I have a lot to play for,” Richardson said. “I have a lot to prove. I’m an ordinary human, but as a back I’m going to be that special guy.
“I’m going to make sure they always remember my name because they are going to have to compare people to me.”
Minnesota received No.’s 118 (acquired from Atlanta), 139 and 211 to move down one spot to fourth overall.
Richardson is the sixth player taken No. 3 by Browns – Joe Thomas, Braylon Edwards, Gerard Warren, Chip Banks and Mike Phipps were the previous five.
The Browns have 10 picks total: No’s 3, 22, 37, 67, 100, 160, 204 (compensatory), 205 (compensatory), 245 (compensatory), and 247 (compensatory).
Compensatory picks can not be traded per league rules.