#3 Trent Richardson Headlines Browns’ Youth Movement
This season the Browns were led by rookies in passing, rushing and receiving. (Still mad I didn’t get so much as a cap tip from the Browns stat department. You’re welcome.)
Trent Richardson’s 950 yards didn’t just lead the team this year, they were the most by a Browns rookie RB ever. Yes, he played in more games and had more attempts than Jim Brown in his rookie season. Stop for a moment though and think about the comparison. You want to split hairs about Richardson’s season compared to Jim Brown? Ok. I fully submit Richardson’s rookie year was only the second best in franchise history. And that’s good enough. He also set a club rookie marks for rushing touchdowns.
Brandon Weeden threw for more yards than any Browns rookie QB ever has. His 3,385 yards passing rank 7th all time by a rookie QB, and is the 10th best season total in Browns history- by ANY quarterback. Are passing yards the end all measure of a QB? Of course not. But there have been several other rookie QBs get a shot for the Browns recently, and none of them were able to come close to what Weeden did this season.
Perhaps the rookie surprise of the season was WR Josh Gordon. Gordon was taken in the supplemental draft and led the team with 805 yards receiving and 5 touchdown catches. That is the fourth highest total by a rookie in Browns history. Gordon also became just the fourth rookie to have a catch in all 16 games of his rookie season. All this from a player that didn’t play a single down of college football last year.
There were plenty more rookies that contributed greatly to the Browns this season. Mitchell Schwartz played every snap at right tackle for the Browns. John Hughes and Billy Winn saw significant time on the defensive line. Hughes recorded 32 tackles and 3 sacks. Winn added 24 tackles and a sack of his own. James-Michael Johnson was hampered by injuries, but started several games at OLB and recorded 36 tackles.
Trent Richardson will be the standard bearer for this rookie class. The Browns traded picks to move up and take him. Brandon Weeden will forever be linked to Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, fairly or unfairly.