Hope springs eternal, especially if you're a Cleveland Browns fan. Those hopes got a huge boost following the beleaguered NFL team's announcement of yesterday's first-round draft picks. Ideastream's Brian Bull reports:
First, Cleveland is getting a star college football running back. Alabama's Trent Richardson will be trading his crimson jersey for a brown one, but hopefully keeping the muscle and talent that earned him a single-season rushing record of nearly 1700 yards, and made him a Heisman Trophy finalist.
Richardson says being picked by the Browns is bigger news than winning his national championship. At a press conference today, he said he was ready to meet the challenges of pro-football.
"It's an honor and a pleasure, to be a part of this tradition that they have here with the great running backs that they've had," said Richardson. "And try to make a name for myself, it's going to be big. And I got a lot of `spect to earn, and I've got a lot to prove."
This morning on 90.3’s "The Sound of Ideas", Plain Dealer sports columnist Bud Shaw said Richardson will bring much to the Browns…a franchise that's needed help since 1999.
"He's a running back who can run inside the tackles, and pick up short yardage on 3rd and 1 or 3rd and 2, he can get outside and take it to the end zone. He can block, and he catches passes out of the backfield."
Shaw also gave props to Brandon Weeden, the Browns' other first-round pick. He says the Oklahoma State quarterback has the tools and versatility to help the Browns compete better in the AFC North than current quarterback Colt McCoy…who may now be traded.
Browns fans are certainly fired up for the picks. Dave DeMint of Hudson says he's eager to see what Richardson brings to the field.
"I think it's the best pick they could've made…and they didn't give up much to get him, as far as those draft choices go," says Richardson. "I don't think they've had a running back quite the caliber that he's suspected to be."
And Clevelander Kyle Matthews says Richardson will bring the Browns something they've lacked for some time…an "actual true running back" that'll last. He even expects the Browns to win six to seven games this season.
"But I think they gave Colt McCoy a raw deal to a certain extent," adds Matthews. "Just because the offensive line on the right side failed. Colt McCoy just didn't have the full protection on his offensive line. But I like Brandon Weeden, don't get me wrong! I think he's gonna to be good."
Both Weeden and Richardson have several months to train and "get their game on".
The first official game of the season has the Browns taking on the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9th, in Cleveland.