"By the nature of his build, it's hard to get your arms around him and tackle," Shurmur said. "That natural leverage that he has also gives him great balance."
The Browns handed the Minnesota Vikings three late-round picks in addition to their first-round pick to take the 5-foot-9, 230-pound Alabama bruiser with the third overall pick in last month's NFL draft.
"He's a very powerful man," Shurmur said. "I just think he's got a very powerful build, much like we thought, and it shows up on the field."
Browns running backs coach Gary Brown said Richardson's strength is unique among the NFL's short-but-stout running backs, such as the Jacksonville Jaguars' Maurice Jones-Drew and the Baltimore Ravens' Ray Rice.
"What happens, when you're not a tall back and you're strongly built, your balance is better," Brown said. "That's a tremendous advantage when guys try to arm tackle you. You bounce off and keep going."
Brown added: "It's a smaller target. Guys lose you behind the big (offensive) line. What happens, guys can stay low, find creases and make big runs."
Brown helped run Richardson's drills at the Alabama pro day in March, when Richardson famously ran hard enough to knock Brown to the ground.
"Anytime someone's in my way, I'm going to try to knock them over," Richardson said at the time. "Either they're going to hit me or I'm going to hit them. So nine times out of 10, I'm trying to throw the lick."
Notes: The Browns signed eight of their 11 draft picks Saturday. Only Richardson, fellow first-round pick QB Brandon Weeden and fifth-round pick LB Emmanuel Acho remain unsigned. The team has offensive lineman Mitchell Schwartz, defensive lineman John Hughes, wide receiver Travis Benjamin, linebacker James-Michael Johnson, offensive lineman Ryan Miller, defensive lineman Billy Winn, defensive back Trevin Wade and fullback Brad Smelley under contract.