Wednesday thoughts – Browns trade Richardson, Marqise Lee

September 18th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

Browns trade Richardson to Colts

You don’t often see in-season blockbuster trades. Today we got one. Trent Richardson, the third overall pick in the 2012 draft, has been traded to the Colts for a first round pick. It means Indianapolis now owns the #1 (Andrew Luck) and #3 (Richardson) picks in what was considered a top-heavy draft.

Browns fans seem a little shell shocked by the news. Richardson was a stud at Alabama but it just didn’t work out in Cleveland. It’s funny, just yesterday I was thinking about Richardson’s time in Cleveland. He’s talented, no doubt about it. But it’s a wretched fit playing under Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner. He’s a downfield runner and needs to play on a team that really values that pounding, physical style.

Originally when he was drafted by Cleveland, I think that’s what they were planning to do. And that style of running game has worked a treat in the AFC North for so long. But under the current regime, it seemed like a bad fit.

Credit the Browns for accepting the situation, taking a first round pick from Indy and just moving on. This may be one of those situations that works out best for all concerned. Cleveland, at 0-2, are in the process a major rebuild. Or at least they should be. They’re starting Brian Hoyer at quarterback this week after all.

In the 2014 draft they have to bring in a quarterback — and now they have options. If they need to move up, they have the stock to do so. If they don’t need to move up, they can launch their rebuild with two new first round picks.

The Colts meanwhile are looking to win now. They’ve just lost Vic Ballard to injury. They utilise a power running game. Now they have a potential superstar to help Andrew Luck and propel that offense.

It’s a hefty price — we’re seeing fewer and fewer running backs taken with first round picks. But Richardson is only a year removed from being the #3 overall pick.

For me, this looks like a good deal all round. The new regime in Cleveland has to pretty much start from scratch. The Holmgren era was a total failure. Harsh but true.

Richardson could make his debut against the 49ers this weekend. More importantly, he’ll likely face Seattle in week five.

Marqise Lee needs to be careful

USC look like a team waiting for the inevitable to happen. Lane Kiffin is unpopular. It’ll take more than a comprehensive win over Boston College to save his job.

On offense the quarterback situation just seems bizarre. Cody Kessler and Max Wittek started the year sharing snaps. Kessler got the bulk against BC. Neither has looked capable of replacing Matt Barkley long term.

The mess at quarterback has, predictably, had an impact on the receivers. In particular, it’s hampered the immensely talented Marqise Lee. Last years Biletnikoff winner is one of the most naturally gifted players — at any position — in college football. He’s not a physical freak with size and speed that’s off the charts. He’s just a tremendous football player.

And yet he’s been incredibly inconsistent to start the year.

I’ve posted his tape vs Hawaii at the top of this page, where you can see for yourself mistakes we don’t usually associate with Lee. The following week he had seven catches for 27 yards against Washington State. Then against Boston College — two grabs for 90 yards including an 80-yard score.

The quarterback situation isn’t helping, but Lee also seems to have lost some focus. Perhaps he’s frustrated? I would be in his shoes. But whatever — this is a crucial year. He’ll almost certainly declare at the end of the season and head for the pro’s. Without the eye-popping physical skills (he’s listed at 6-0 and 195lbs) he’s not going to max out his potential draft stock with a mediocre season on the CV.

It’ll be nice for teams picking in the final frame of round one if he does drop. Really, it shouldn’t come to that. He has an opportunity to make sure it doesn’t.

Funnily enough, following the Trent Richardson trade, it wouldn’t be a total shocker to see Teddy Bridgewater and Marqise Lee combining in Cleveland. That wouldn’t be a bad thing for the Browns.

Quiet time

My wife is due to give birth to our first son on the 28th. That means it could basically happen at any time. If I suddenly don’t post for a few days, you know why. I’ll be sure to check in asap.

34 Responses to “Wednesday thoughts – Browns trade Richardson, Marqise Lee”

  1. smitty1547 says:

    Congrats and good luck

  2. Jklovas says:

    Congratulations

  3. SunPathPaul says:

    I sure hope Trent Richardson plays this week and helps the Colts beat the 9ers- Oh man I hope so!!!
    Then we would have a 2 game lead… I was shocked to hear it, but after this read I get it… wonder if cleveland will go Terry Bridgewater, or cut it lose with Manziel??!?? crazy

    Congrats on the imminent birth – you’ll be a great Dad!!!

    • SunPathPaul says:

      …oh yeah, and how happy is Andrew Luck now!!! To have that beast in his backfield to take some pressure off of him… and T.Rich has to be Ecstatic! He keeps his #3 first round pay, but leaves the horrible Browns for a playoff contender in the Colts! If I was him I’d be thanking my lucky stars!!! WOW

  4. kevin mullen says:

    Congrats Rob!

    Big ballsy move by both Cleveland and Indy. Not sure how this fares with Richardson but I thought Cleveland’s OLine was better suited for him than Indy’s.

  5. Michael says:

    Man, how dumb were the Bills?

    Draft Position
    T. Richardson – 3rd overall
    M. Lynch – 12th overall

    Age at time of trade
    T. Richardson – 23
    M. Lynch – 24

    Career yards per attempt at time of trade
    T. Richardson – 3.54
    M. Lynch – 4.02

    Compensation
    T. Richardson – 32nd overall pick worst case scenario
    M. Lynch – 122nd overall (2011) + 147th overall (2012)

    Granted there were “character concerns” with Lynch, but still. What a magnificent trade for PC/JS. And yes, I am aware that this trade has nothing to do with the Seahawks, but I care very little about the Colts or Browns, so I’m making it about the Seahawks. Sure hope T. Rich runs amok all over the ‘Niners this weekend!

  6. Michael says:

    So if Okung’s toe needs surgery, can we give up a few future picks for Joe Thomas? Haha

    • JW says:

      actually this one be a pretty smart trade for Cleveland. Joe Thomas will be 29 at the start of next season, 30 by the time any QB they draft is seasoned….

      They should put Thomas on the market as well. And Seattle should call them.

      • Michael says:

        I don’t think there is any chance of that actually happening. We’d have to clear some serious cap space, and even then he would probably have to take a big pay cut, which he likely wouldn’t be willing to do since he’s one of the best LT’s in the league. Not to mention that the Browns probably want to protect their next rookie QB so he doesn’t go all David Carr on them.

  7. Colin says:

    Not exactly the best move Indi could have made. They aren’t just brimming with talent- any team that gets outscored by 30 points over the course of a season is not that good, but unvarnished facts deceive with that 11-5 record.

    A 1st rounder for Richardson? Wow. They are banking on that one working out. Foolish deal in my eyes, as good running backs can be had for less than a 1st round pick, and Indi has a fairly mediocre starting 5. Short term in thinking in my view.

    Not seeing the upside to that trade if you are a Colts fan.

  8. Donald Duck says:

    Congratulations on the impending birth of your first child. I greatly enjoyed being a dad and enjoy being a grandpa.
    There are other teams in desperate need of a running back (Steelers, etc.). Would the Hawks have any interest in trading Turban for a high draft choice next year?

    • CHawk Talker Eric says:

      I don’t know how high a pick he’d garner, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets significant playing time this season in the hopes of boosting his trade value.

  9. SES says:

    Makes you wonder if Indy made any inquiries to the Hawks about our stable-load of quality backs.

    Big concerns about Okung. Will be interesting to see how J&S handle the situation. You know JS has already been looking at options.

  10. Kenny Sloth says:

    O/T Just read an article over at fieldgulls.com and they mentioned this guy: Stanley Jean-Baptiste 6’3/220

    From Nebraska. Looks like Sherman. Is a recent WR to CB convert.

    • Ben says:

      Yeah, I could see either Seattle or Jacksonville grabbing him. Looked at him, he’s got more the look of a Brandon Browner, but with Richard Sherman’s background.

  11. Kenny Sloth says:

    I liked Lee a lot more when I thought he was 2 inches taller and 20 lbs heavier

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      I absolutely love Louis Nix III. The next Vince Wilfork. He could play 0,1,2i, or even 3 ala Alan Branch

  12. bjammin says:

    Cheers Rob. Hope everything goes well. This trade could have a huge upside for the Colts. Play action to Lynch is a huge part of Russell’s arsenal. Luck lucked out. Oi vei.

  13. Phil says:

    Rob – get some well-deserved rest before the big day! Congratulations in advance to you and your wife. Is he going to be a future NFL star, or is he going to “bend it like Beckham”? I bet you will be happy with either.

  14. Cysco says:

    Big price to pay for sure.

    It’s not like Indy was in the same position as Seattle with the Harvin Trade. For Seattle, that pick was dispensable. Indy has holes to fill. That pick is valuable. I wonder if they called on Ben Tate to see if they could get him for a 2nd or 3rd.

    Anyway, will be interesting to see how it works out. I give credit to the Cleveland FO for making a move that they knew was the right thing to do, but would be universally questioned by everyone.

    Rob, early congratulations on the birth of Russell Sherman Staton.

    • Rob Staton says:

      One interesting angle is Seattle knew the pick they were spending and the alternatives available in the draft. Indy is 1-1 currently. Seattle looked at the options at #25 overall and felt Harvin was superior. What if Indy has a top ten pick next April? Or top-15? It’s not beyond the realms of possibility. This is a blind trade.

      • Colin says:

        A leap of faith, if you will. We certainly believe Richardson is worth a first round pick… but it’s possible Cleveland knows a little something everyone else doesn’t.

      • Michael says:

        I agree that it is a blind trade, but I also think part of that is offset by the value gained by trading a future asset for something that will help you right now. You always hear people saying that it is a “win now leauge” and that is backed up by the ammount of coach turnover you see each year.

        I think we all agree that RB was a need in Indy. Let’s say that the draft next April falls in such a way that using their 1st round pick (wherever it ends up) to fill that need would have made sense. Aren’t they in a better position, assuming at least equivalent player value, by getting that benefit nearly a full season ahead of time?

        I guess what I’m saying is that a draft pick that you get to spend today is more valuable than one you can’t spend for another 7 months, so that should be factored in as well.

        • Colin says:

          That would be true if we know that T. Richardson is better than said player drafted next April. It’ll be a full year and a half at least before we know if this is a good trade or not.

  15. JW says:

    I see flashes with Richardson but so far he’s been nothing but average per advanced stats, and sub par by conventional stats. And this kind of fits with the eye test, to me. He looks like he should be better, but he hasn’t been.

    He might fit in better with Indy, but so far he’s not been elite in any category other than “potential”.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      Brandon Weeden and Co. were really held back by his poor play. With Richardson gone, they’ll be playoff contenders for sure

      • Colin says:

        Lol. Well said.

        • JW says:

          humouous as that may be, richardson’s elusiveness, YAC, and broken tackle numbers are all independent of Weeden et al, and they’re perfectly average across the board, so far in his career. So far, by conventional – and advanced measures that isolate his individual performance- a very ordinary player so far.

          • Kenny Sloth says:

            Ceiling, bruh. They’ve had some serious injury troubles on the inside of the OL and their passing attack doesn’t keep safeties honest. T-Rich is vicious when he gets going.

            Did you know he was a rookie last year?

            Remember young AP?

  16. Clayton says:

    Congrats Rob! I sincerely hope that dad duty won’t be too rough on you so that you can continue your work on this awesome blog. The first thing that I thought of when I saw the news of the trade was the scheme fit for Richardson. When Mark Ingram was drafted by the Saints, I thought he was going to tear it up because I thought the defense would need to spread out because of Brees’ passing attack. But it never really worked out for him. Now if Richardson is a similar back, that came from the same system at Alabama, going into a passing offense (as of now), I would think the results would be similar. Your thoughts?

  17. Miles says:

    Congratulations Rob. Best wishes for the newest addition to your family. :) Or is he the first?

    Mike Holmgren was on KJR today and he said when he was told the Browns traded Trent, he thought it was a joke. Obviously Holmgren drafted Trent, but his perception is that the Browns made their team much worse by trading him. If you’re looking at it from a Pete Carroll “win now” mindset, this is not a good move for the Browns. Now they don’t just have a question mark at quarterback but an even bigger one in the backfield as well. This move almost concedes the 2013 season entirely. The first round pick is nice, but again, the 2013 season can almost be scrapped now.

    • Rob Staton says:

      First child — and thanks to everyone for the messages of good will!

      I found Holmgren’s comments a bit predictable. He’s essentially criticising the team that fired him, and the guys who replaced him and traded his first round pick. Holmgren should detach himself from the situation and consider the Browns in a different light. They’re in a major rebuild and need picks to piece together an offense in the vision of the current staff. Not in Holmgren’s vision. First round picks are golden for rebuilding teams — having two kick started the Carroll era in Seattle in year one. It doesn’t mean Cleveland will necessarily spend those picks wisely, but on paper it looks like a win-win for both teams.

      And really, you could say who’s Holmgren to criticise? He didn’t do much of a job when given the keys to the Browns.

  18. A. Simmons says:

    Depends on how good Richardson turns out to be. If he becomes a top 5 back as his draft status indicates, then Cleveland was dumb to trade him. If he turns out to be a middle of the pack back with injury problems, then Cleveland made a good trade. Even when rebuilding, you don’t trade 2nd year players with as much potential upside as Richardson unless you don’t believe in their potential. You retain what assets you can retain for the rebuild. In my opinion this is the GM and head coach saying “We don’t believe Richardson is a top 3 pick. We want to get what we can for him while his value is high. We don’t believe he will get any better. We’re going to trade him and let some other team gamble on his potential.” That is what they did. We’ll see how it works out for both teams. It works out great for Richardson. He has a much better chance of succeeding in Indy if he has any potential at all.