INDIANAPOLIS (CBSMiami) – Much was made about the dramatic transformation the Miami Dolphins went through in the offseason. But another team is using the draft and free agency to load up on young talent to make a run through the AFC for the next few years, the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts’ rebuild started with landing the number one overall draft pick and selecting franchise quarterback Andrew Luck. The standout college quarterback immediately paid dividends for the Colts leading them to the playoffs in his rookie season.
During the same draft, the Colts added pass catching tight end Coby Fleener and speedy wide receiver T.Y. Hilton to a potent offense. Hilton adds speed to the dependable hands of Reggie Wayne who continues to defy time as a Colts receiver.
So the Colts have the passing game in good hands, but didn’t have a game-breaking running back. That changed with a shocking trade Wednesday night. The Colts traded a 2014 first-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for second-year running back Trent Richardson.
The Browns selected Richardson with the number three overall pick last year, the same draft that saw Luck selected first overall. So in one trade, the Colts now own the number one overall pick and the number three draft pick from the 2012 draft.
Richardson came into the league with the storied background of being an extremely productive running back at the University of Alabama. In his rookie season, Richardson rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns while also catching 51 passes for 367 yards and a touchdown.
He immediately supplants Ahmad Bradshaw on the depth chart and becomes the every-down back the Colts needed to help ease the pressure on Luck. Plus, with Richardson’s ability to catch the football; he should help an already potent passing game for the Colts.
It was a rare blockbuster NFL trade that has the distinct possibility of providing big dividends for both teams.
For Indianapolis, they control Richardson’s very reasonable rookie contract and if he meets their expectations will be a big-time contributor to the team’s offense.
In Cleveland, the team is hitting the reset button on the franchise once again. The Browns weren’t throwing in the towel on Richardson as much as they were on starting quarterback Brandon Weeden who has struggled mightily as a Brown.
The extra first-round draft pick gives Cleveland two number one picks, a second round pick, two third round picks, and two fourth round picks in next year’s draft. The Browns will now likely be in a competition with Jacksonville to see who gets the number one overall pick.
The Browns will use their top pick on a top quarterback in the draft such as Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville if he’s available when they pick. It would give a franchise looking for a savior a new star quarterback to build around for the next decade.