The run on Alabama players in the 2012 NFL draft has started.
The Cleveland Browns traded up one spot and then used the No. 3 pick in the first round to select former Alabama running back Trent Richardson.
Four of his former Crimson Tide teammates are expected to be selected later in the first round tonight: safety Mark Barron, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw.
The Minnesota Vikings had the No. 3 pick but traded it to the Browns and also acquired picks in the fourth, fifth and seventh rounds, the Nos. 118, 139 and 211 picks.
Richardson was picked after the Indianapolis Colts selected former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and the Washington Redskins picked former Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.
It’s the highest a running back has been drafted since 2006, when USC’s Reggie Bush was taken by the New Orleans Saints with the No. 2 pick.
Richardson finished third in the 2011 Heisman Trophy voting, behind Griffin and Luck, then elected to skip his senior season. He goes to a team that ranked 29th in total yards and 30th in scoring last season.