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NFL Draft Profile: Anthony Richardson

School: Florida

Position: QB

Year: Redshirt Sophomore

The Good: Someone who knows the bare minimum about football can take one look at Anthony Richardson and say, “yup.” That’s how much Richardson looks the part, and his physical running style matches his size. Richardson is a true dual-threat QB; he’ll immediately become one of the league’s more lethal runners at the position and he can hum a 101 MPH fastball with such a quick release. He’s got the full package of mobility: scrambling, play extension, evading sacks, and throwing on rollouts. I was pleasantly surprised by Richardson’s intangibles given his “project” label. He’s willing to stand tall in the pocket, has a good sense of timing, and is smooth when given plays to work through progressions. He rarely puts the ball in harm’s way too, whether that’s because he throws the ball away or takes off running. When things are going right for Richardson – which isn’t that uncommon on tape – he has the look of the first overall pick.

The Bad: That said, I wouldn’t endorse taking Richardson with the first overall pick. I write it annually around this time of year that “raw” is my least favorite adjective to describe prospects, but it’s valid in Richardson’s case. He’s young, both literally at 21 years old on Draft Day and figuratively with only one season as a full-time college starter. You can tell that he’s green when he misses open throws, goes overboard with velocity, and struggles throwing to certain areas of the field; I think that could all sort itself out just with more reps. There are parts of his game that will require improvement with more than just patience. His mechanics are inconsistent; Richardson will unnecessarily drop his arm slot and lose accuracy – and he’s not particularly accurate to begin with. His pocket management needs work too, which is my biggest concern with Richardson as I continue to prioritize that skill more and more in my QB evaluation. He currently doesn’t do his offensive line many favors, as Richardson will routinely settle in unfavorable spots in the pocket, bail when he should step up and vice versa, and hold onto the ball when there is a hot read. Lastly, while I push back on this becoming a barometer of NFL readiness, Richardson didn’t give Florida much of a chance vs. Georgia in 2022 while CJ Stroud, Will Levis, and Bryce Young (twice) each handled themselves well against the Bulldogs. 

The Bottom Line: I’m definitely a fan of Richardson, which candidly I didn’t expect given my general outlook on quarterbacks and the way that the Draft community is talking about him. Context is important for every prospect, and I think it’s especially important in Richardson’s case. I hated Florida’s scheme and playcalling in 2022, with Billy Napier and Rob Sale (offensive line coach of 2021 Giants) taking over from Dan Mullen. Their WRs were also mediocre and Richardson faced constant pressure around his tackles, which he was constantly sent into by the playcalls. I’m not totally excusing his 53.8% completion percentage, but Richardson really didn’t get much help. I don’t expect Richardson to ever contend for the completion percentage title in the NFL, but he should settle closer to 60% and, honestly, the frequency that he connects on splash plays make the incompletions worth it. I won’t be upset if Richardson begins 2023 as a backup, but I think he’d more capably survive as a rookie starter than others seem to think. Depending where he and others land in the Draft, I could see myself having some action on Richardson as a dark horse Rookie of the Year winner. His ability is truly special and I think his platform for archetypal QB play is high enough to justify an early gamble in the draft.  

Grade: Mid First Round

Pro Comp: Cam Newton

Games Watched:

  • LSU 2021
  • Utah 2022
  • Kentucky 2022
  • Tennessee 2022
  • LSU 2022
  • Georgia 2022
  • Texas A&M 2022
  • South Carolina 2022
  • Florida State 2022

Plays That Matter [LINK]

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