This comes courtesy of Chris Mortensen of ESPN (click here for the article):
“Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson is tentatively scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery Thursday to remove a ‘hang nail particle’ of loose cartilage that is irritating his left knee, but the rookie is expected to return before the regular-season opener, according to sources.
The small particle, which has caused swelling, will be ‘cleaned up’ by Dr. James Andrews after it was detected in an MRI. Dr. Andrews will do a final evaluation before he is expected to perform the minor surgery.”
The Fantasy Fallout:
It is hard enough for a rookie to enter the NFL and make an immediate impact. That’s not to say that it is impossible, especially from the running back position, but rookies need time to learn the offenses and adjust to the professional game. A lot of that can come during the preseason games and training camp, but Richardson now loses that time.
You could argue that it could help keep him fresh later in the season, as rookies are used to a shorter college schedule, and that could be the case here. Expected to get the bulk of the carries, you would also think that this news will help limit his touches (at least in the early going). Either Montario Hardesty or Brandon Jackson could now play a much larger role, at least over the first few weeks. If they play well with that opportunity? All bets are off, though you would obviously still plan on Richardson being the workhorse.
So, he loses time to learn and adjust to the professional game and could also now have to share touches, something that was not expected… Obviously, this news hurts his outlook. That’s not to say that he isn’t worth drafting, but according to Mock Draft Central his current ADP stands at 10.92, ahead of Darren McFadden and Marshawn Lynch. While both of those players hold their own risk, they have already proven what they could do in the NFL.
It’s obvious Richardson can play and, if healthy, you would still expect him to get the bulk of the work for Cleveland as he is by far the best option they have. It may take a little longer for him to get things going, but the production will be there… Of course, the caveat is if healthy, as Richardson tore the meniscus in that same knee, needing surgery this past February. That is a major red flag, though not one that should cause him to be completely ignored.
The bottom line is that Richardson has a ton of risk with him, making it tough to justify selecting him at the tail end of the first round or ahead of backs like McFadden or Lynch. Considering the talent level, I would still consider him in the middle-to-late second round and definitely if he slips even further than that. A rookie with injury risk, however, he needs to fall down draft boards a little bit based on this news. However, I wouldn’t let him slip too far.
What are your thoughts of Richardson? Is he a player you are still looking to select? Why or why not?
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