ATLANTA - Tailback Trent Richardson, the consensus top-rated running back and the No. 6 overall prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, will not participate in drills at Alabama's Pro Day on Wednesday, agent Jimmy Sexton confirmed to The Sports Xchange.
It was believed by most that Richardson, who underwent minor knee surgery in the offseason and was unable to work at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, would not be fully rehabilitated from the knee surgery in time for the campus workout. Some scouts, however, held out hope that Richardson might be ready for the audition.
That will not be the case, though, and Richardson will work out for scouts in about three weeks, Sexton said.
"He just started running full speed this week (at the API facility in Phoenix), and he's close to be ready, but it's not quite there yet," Sexton said. "People should have plenty of time to see him and get a good read."
Also skipping the Alabama Pro Day, which will still feature several top prospects, and is expected to attract representatives from all 32 franchises, will be safety Mark Barron, the top-rated player at his position by NFLDraftScout.com. Barron recently underwent double hernia surgery, and was also unable to participate in the on-field drills at the Combine. Like Richardson, Barron is expected to be able to get on the field closer to the end of this month.
The inability to work out so far has not affected the projected draft statuses of either of the Crimson Tide stars.
It is believed that Richardson, 20, injured his left knee in the practices preceding the national championship game. Renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who performed the procedure on Richardson's knee, has characterized the operation as minor and assessed the back should experience no long-term problems. Richardson's rehabilitation has progressed as scheduled, and he appears to be on target for the late-month workout.
A Heisman Trophy finalist, Richardson is projected as a top 10 selection in April, perhaps even a top five choice, despite the fact running backs have been devalued a bit in recent years in the draft. In three seasons at Alabama, he rushed for 3,130 yards and 35 touchdowns on 540 carries. In 2011, Richardson registered 283 rushes for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns.
At the Combine, Richardson measured 5-feet-9 1/4, 228 pounds.
Barron, 22, was 6-1, 213 pounds in Indianapolis. There is some disagreement among scouts about whether his best position is at free or strong safety. But with teams increasingly deploying the safety spots interchangeably, there doesn't appear to be much dispute that Barron is the top safety prospect.
He recorded 149 tackles, 12 interceptions and 34 passes defensed in his four years with Alabama.
--Len Pasquarelli, NFLDraftScout.com/The Sports Xchange.