BEREA - Every year the NFL draft shows why it's an inexact science.
In this year's draft the Browns, afraid of not getting Alabama running back Trent Richardson with the fourth overall pick, traded up one spot to make sure they got their man. The Washington Redskins waited until the sixth round to select running Florida Atlantic running back Alfred Morris.
Based on 13 games you'd have to say that the Redskins are getting more bang for their buck. Morris has fit into coach Mike Shanahan's zone-blocking running scheme like a glove. He has 1,228 yards and seven touchdowns on 253 carries.
Richardson hasn't found the going as easy. He has 869 yards and nine touchdowns on 247 carries.
There's long been a belief that talented running backs can be found in every round of the draft. Unless a team thinks it has the next Jim Brown in its hands, the thinking is to not use a high pick on a running back.
That philosophy is more striking in the case of Richardson and Morris because of their backgrounds. Both played high school football in Pensacola, Fla., which has become a hotbed for developing future college and NFL stars. Richardson was highly recruited and could have named his college destination, while Morris stayed close to home and played at a non-traditional power.
Morris doesn't take any extra pride in having registered better statistics than Richardson.
"I really don't think about it," Morris said. "I'm just happy that he's doing well and I'm doing well. Just to make it this far and coming from where we came from is an accomplishment in itself."
A week doesn't go by that Richardson isn't asked about his lack of production, which can be seen in his average per carry of 3.5 yards. Morris is averaging 4.9 yards per carry.
Richardson said for the first time this week that a rib injury he suffered in week two is "critical." He added that some teammates are surprised he's still able to play.
There are no signs of jealousy towards Morris' accomplishments by Richardson.
"It doesn't bother me," Richardson said of not having numbers similar to Morris. "We're in different situations and different leagues. Teams are going to have better stats than other teams because that's the league.
"I'm not the rookie that has the most yards; okay they (the Redskins) are having a better year. That's fine," Richardson said. "I think I'm doing pretty well myself. I'm not saying I'm satisfied. I know I can do better. I'm not hanging on to anybody's yardage. I don't care what they do. I want to win."
Ironically, Morris and his younger brother Shawn were thorns in Richardson's side during his high school career. The Morris brothers played at Pine Forest High School, and Richardson attended Escambia High School.
"That school right there (Pine Forest) is the reason why I never made the playoffs," Richardson said. "He was the reason why I never made the playoffs, and then his little brother was the next reason."
In fairness to Richardson, Alfred benefits from having a quarterback (Robert Griffin III) that sets him up for success with his ability to confuse defenses in the option game. Alfred is also helped by playing in Shanahan's running back-friendly offense.
"The system that he runs, anybody can come in and be successful," Alfred said. "At the same time he does a great job of finding backs that fit in perfectly, the one-cut type of back."
Tomorrow at Browns Stadium, Richardson will get a chance to show that the Browns made the right choice in selecting him.