Last year, the St. Louis Rams drafted running back Daryl Richardson 252nd overall (second to last in the ENTIRE draft). Many predicted him to be the third string back after the now departed Steven Jackson and 2nd round pick Isaiah Pead, but after a strong showing during the preseason, Richardson was listed as Jackson’s backup over Pead. Despite not getting into the end-zone, Richardson amassed 475 yards on 98 carries, as opposed to Pead, who only amassed 54 yards on 10 carries.
Richardson has the potential to really become a breakout star for the St. Louis Rams in 2013 and the years after. One reason is his speed: Despite his 5’10” stature, Richardson ran a 4.47 40-yard dash during pro day, and throughout the season, you can see him speed through closing gaps with breakaway speed.
Another reason for Richardson’s possible breakout year is the revamped Rams themselves. Strong blocking from the new, improved, and healthy offensive line will give Richardson the ability to find various gaps in the defenses, capitalize, and use his intense speed to go right through. He is seen as more of a burner as opposed to a bruiser, but averaging almost five yards a carry, he doesn’t need to bulldoze through opponents.
The third reason is because he was groomed as Jackson’s successor last year. He was mentored by one of the most consistent backs of the past decade, and produced strong numbers for himself as well, unlike Pead, who will also be suspended for the first week of the regular season. Richardson was lucky to learn from one of the top backs since 2000, and he will put that knowledge taught to good use on the field.
The Rams are a new team in 2013, and they have added plenty of play makers on offense to make them more of threat, from Jake Long and Jared Cook, to new receivers Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin. Regardless, Daryl Richardson is on the perfect team to make a name for himself: A young team led by a veteran coach with the raw talent to propel them to the top of the NFC West. 2013 will definitely be an exciting season for the Rams.
From nearly being “Mr. Irrelevant” to being the starting back, it’s been an interesting first year for Daryl Richardson, but the best it yet to come from him.