As you all know, Richardson's first season in Indianapolis was a big disappointment. In 14 regular season games, he carried the ball 157 times for 458 yards and 3 touchdowns (2.9 yards per carry). He also caught 28 passes for 265 yards and a touchdown (9.5 yards per reception). He was even worse in the postseason, only getting 4 carries and netting 1 yard rushing with a lost fumble. There's a reason he only got 4 carries in 2 playoff games. Richardson was benched in the regular season for Donald Brown, formerly hailed as a first round bust but who emerged in 2013 to play a crucial role to the Colts success. But Richardson? He struggled mightily.
Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said he thinks the issue with Richardson is confidence and he said the Colts will have patience. I will too, and I agree that it mostly is mental for Richardson right now. But another big issue for him in 2013 was the fact that he was running behind a bad offensive line, and the Colts often gave him carries up the middle right into the worst part of the line.
Of course, the Colts will need to upgrade the offensive line this year, and there are several very good linemen in the draft this year. The problem is that the Colts don't have a first round pick this year. The Browns, however, who have the Colts first round pick (number 26 overall), might get a good lineman with the pick. I've looked at several mock drafts around the internet, and here are who people are projecting the Browns to take with the 26th overall pick (keep in mind that this is still very early):
David Yankey, G, Stanford
"The most agile and well-rounded guard in the draft class, Yankey also has experience playing offensive tackle and could provide insurance at that position. He has very good footwork and quickness for the position, but he is also a gritty, strong lineman who uses his hands well and has good size (6'5", 313 lbs)."
Cyrus Kouandijio, OT, Alabama
C.J. Mosely, ILB, Alabama
Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame
"Zack Martin was one of the top players at the Senior Bowl last week and should have a shot at getting drafted in the tail end of the first round. The Browns have a solid offensive line in place, but might need bolster the interior of the offensive line depending on what happens in free agency. With Manziel in place, protection becomes a priority." [NOTE: Fairburn had the Browns taking Manziel with the number four overall pick.]
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
"We've already projected them Manziel up top, and now he gets some receiving help. The Browns have other needs, but finding a quality underneath weapon such as Landry really could give the Browns an outstanding three-tiered passing attack with Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron that puts the whole field in play. Landry would be a major upgrade over Davone Bess, who, um, has had a bad week."
C.J. Mosely, LB, Alabama
"Several rookie inside linebackers have made immediate impacts in their first seasons the past two years. Mosley should have no problem making a transition to the pros. The next in a long line of Alabama linebackers to go in the first round, he could be a solid fit in Cleveland, learning from D'Qwell Jackson."
David Yankey, OL, Stanford
"Teams that spend early picks on quarterbacks usually take an offensive player to complement that signal-caller with their next selection. Think Matthew Stafford-Brandon Pettigrew, Sam Bradford-Rodger Saffold, Andrew Luck-Coby Fleener, etc. As noted in my Browns team needs page, Shawn Lauvao is a free agent, but he needed to be upgraded anyway. Both he and Oniel Cousins stunk it up at this position."
Out of the seven mock drafts that I looked at and included here, 4 of them had an offensive lineman going 26th, 2 of them had an inside linebacker, and 1 of them had a wide receiver. Anyone want to venture to guess what two of the biggest needs for the Colts are this offseason? Yup, offensive line and wide receiver. There will be some pretty good ones available with the 26th overall pick - and that will put even more pressure on Trent Richardson to improve and on Ryan Grigson to make his other picks count.