When the Alabama Crimson Tide take on the LSU Tigers on Saturday there will be plenty of draft prospects to watch, but all eyes in the scouting community will be on Trent Richardson.
Richardson has already proven himself to be an elite college running back, but LSU represents the closest thing to an NFL defense he’ll face before meeting the real thing. He is a solid 1st-round prospect already, but his performance on Saturday could be the difference between a spot in the top 10 and falling into the latter half of the 1st-round.
Personally, I’m already convinced that Richardson is an elite prospect [he's currently No. 2 on my big board] but there are two things I’ll be looking for on Saturday:
Alabama has a fine offensive line, but they can’t match the athleticism of LSU’s defense. His line will create some openings, but they’re going to close faster than he’s used to. Richardson likes to dance around at times, and he gets away with it against lesser opponents, but that won’t fly against LSU or at the next level. He needs to see the holes develop quickly and hit them with a burst. He has the ability to do this, but he needs to show it against LSU to convince the scouting community that he in a class with other recent top running back prospects such as Adrian Peterson.
2. Late-game performance
This is going to be a physical game from start to finish and this is Richardson’s first big game as the workhorse in the backfield without Mark Ingram. He needs to prove that he can wear down the defense, and not the other way around. He’s going to take a pounding, and NFL teams want to see that when the game is on the line he can fight through the bumps and bruises and still be at his best.