Earnest Graham Not Seeing Trent RichardsonMarch 6th, 2012
Yesterday, all-around good guy, Bucs graybeard running back Earnest Graham called in to chat with the czar of Tampa Bay electronic media, J.P. Peterson of WQYK-AM 1010, and had a wide-ranging discussion of all things Bucs.
One of the topics was the possibility of the Bucs drafting Alabama running back Trent Richardson with the fifth overall pick.
In so many words, Graham not only doesn’t see the Bucs pulling such a move, he was uncomfortable with those who compare Richardson to Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and all but said Richardson would not be a dominant running back in the NFL unless he sculpted his body differently.
“You know what, when it comes to running backs, I’m going to tell you: I heard commentators were talking about him and Adrian Peterson in the same breath,” Graham said. “Listen, you know there are very few running backs who can do what Adrian Peterson did, what Carnell Williams did when he was young and a couple of other guys early on. Nobody is the athlete Adrian Peterson is, so, no, [Richardson] is not remotely close. Adrian Peterson is heads and shoulders above everybody, honestly, as far as his explosiveness and his abilities. I haven’t seen anybody close to Adrian Peterson. Fred Taylor, maybe. I don’t think [Peterson] is that guy.
“He is a very solid back, low center of gravity, strong back. Definitely a first round pick. Adrian Peterson is a once in a lifetime guy. Is Trent Richardson? No, I don’t think he is that kind of a guy. If I had to pick, I don’t think I would ever pick a running back in the top 10, unless it was Adrian Peterson.”
Graham went on to elaborate why he is skittish about Richardson dominating the NFL as some believe. First would be that Alabama had a punishing offensive line. There have been a plethora of solid college running backs who, with a dominant college offensive line, ran roughshod over opponents. In the NFL, those holes weren’t always there and they struggled. [Joe's note: think Larry Phillips of Nebraska.]
Also, Graham said running backs that are bulked up like Richardson need to slim down and drop weight. Graham said most of the better running backs in the NFL are lean, smooth, shifty, explosive backs, not hulking, beastly backs like Richardson.
Of course, a cynic would suggest that Graham doesn’t want the Bucs to draft Richardson because that would all but end his days as a Bucs player.
Good thing that Graham isn’t that kind of a con artist. He’s too honest and too good of a guy to try to put out misinformation in order to save his hide.
Besides, Joe can’t think of a running back like Graham who blew an Achilles at the age of 31 and returned to the NFL, Richardson on the roster or not.