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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Mel Kiper Has Tampa Bay Buccaneers Selecting Trent Richardson

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers own the No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and with it they should select Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson, says ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. in his first NFL mock draft.

Kiper acknowledges such a selection may not make much sense on the surface, as the Bucs already have LeGarrette Blount, but urges readers not to "simply dismiss" this pick. Kiper contends having two sound running backs is a must for teams who "want a potent running attack," given "the reality of injuries" that can set back a team.

More importantly, Richardson is an outstanding player, one Kiper says will make an impact in his first year at the professional level because he is "extraordinarily powerful" and he "explodes from contact." Richardson finished No. 3 in Heisman award balloting in his junior season, averaging 5.9 yards per carry and 11.7 yards per catch while scoring 24 touchdowns. For his performance, he earned SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors and the Doak Walker Award.

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Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.