Richardson to seek advice from Adrian Peterson, how much will it help?
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Coming out of Alabama, some thought Trent Richardson could be the best NFL running back prospect since Adrian Peterson.
Since the 22-year-old Richardson was traded from the Cleveland Browns, who selected him with the third-overall pick in 2012, to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick, the once highly-touted bruiser took a nosedive, even if the Colts don't want to admit it.
Richardson was dealt on Sept. 18, just days before he was set to take on Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome. The Crimson Tide product saw a team-high 157 carries in 14 games for the Colts this season, yet produced just 2.9 yards per carry and three touchdowns.
In an effort to up his game, Richardson vowed to talk with Peterson, among other veteran running backs, this offseason as he delves deeper into the Colts' playbook.
"Learn the [Colts'] system, not just memorizing it," Richardson said via Mike Wells of ESPN.com. "Learning the whole concept of the system. There's a difference between having it memorized and feeling comfortable with the system. I'm going to talk to a lot of veteran players, talk to Adrian [Peterson], talk to [LaDainian Tomlinson], talk to Emmitt Smith to make sure I'm the best I need to be next year."
Rightfully so, Richardson lumps Peterson into a group with Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith and NFL record holder LaDainian Tomlinson, who will be eligible for a bust in Canton, Ohio in 2016.
Richardson has a lot of work to do to catch up to his mentors as he's accumulated just 1,513 rushing yards in 31 games since he was selected third overall in 2012. In his brief career, Richardson has yet to top 1,000 rushing yards in one of his two seasons. For comparison, Peterson fell below 1,000 yards just once in his seven-year career -- when he tore his ACL in 2011.
Peterson and Richardson have yet to take the same NFL field, but both shared space on the NFL's offseason video explaining numerous rule changes, including the crown of the helmet rule that Richardson and Peterson helped facilitate from their violent running styles.
What Peterson could possibly teach Richardson is how to fight through defenders. In 2013, an ailing Peterson (hamstring, groin and foot injuries) ranked third in the NFL with three yards per carry after contact. Richardson tied for 45th compared to all NFL rushers with 1.9 yards per carry after contact, per Pro Football Focus.
However, Richardson may not have to go that far to get that kind of help. Richardson's own teammate, Colts rusher Donald Brown, topped the NFL with 3.3 yards after contact per carry on 102 attempts last season.
It couldn't hurt, but how much can advice from the 2012 NFL MVP help Richardson? And who else should the underwhelming running back seek pointers from?