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Mel Kiper Mock Draft: Trent Richardson over Morris Claiborne

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ESPN's renowned (and infamous) NFL draft expert Mel Kiper released his second mock draft of the season a couple of days ago, and in it he had the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking Alabama running back Trent Richardson. This in spite of the presence of LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, who is generally seen as the most likely draft target for the Buccaneers.

I'll say it again -- don't simply dismiss the idea that Richardson could land here because of the presence of LaGarrette Blount. A great running team now needs more than one good back, and Richardson is by far the best back on the board this year. As well, if the Bucs are going with a "best player available" mantra early on -- very possible given a wide range of needs -- Richardson would make a lot of sense here. Blount has power, but he's far more limited as an all-around back than Richardson. The Bucs were actually below league average in yards per rush in 2011, and could look to improve there.

Of course, Kiper is right to an extent: adding Richardson would make the Bucs a better team. But the Bucs could easily take a quality running back early in the second or even third round to serve as a complement to Legarrette Blount. The fact that the running game was one of the few things that actually worked last year would make the selection of Richardson a little strange, to say the least. But Richardson does look like an elite talent.