Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson is a polarizing prospect. He possesses an intriguing blend of size, athleticism, and arm talent. So what makes Richardson a possible top-ten pick in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft? And why are scouts so divided on his potential? Let’s dive in.
What Anthony Richardson does well
Richardson is a physical specimen at 6’4 and 230 pounds, making him a formidable runner who can break tackles and extend plays with his mobility. He has a absolute howitzer for an arm, and can absolutely sling the football. That being said, his mechanics and accuracy leave room for improvement.
The Gainesville native has a smooth throwing motion with a quick release, but sometimes has a bit of a windup. This gets him in trouble when he second-guesses throws and pulls the ball back down. Since Richardson lacks the anticipation of a more experienced quarterback, he will struggle with a prolonged throwing motion in the NFL. At Florida, his athleticism was enough to save him, but that won’t be the case in the NFL.
Anthony Richardson can make any throw on the field. He’s got one of the best arms in this class, and possesses the velocity to fit passes into tight windows. The touch to deliver the football to the intermediate levels of the field however, is another matter.
Where Richardson Needs to Improve
After studying his tape from the 2022 season versus Georgia, LSU, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky, it’s evident where Richardson struggles.
He can be erratic at times in the pocket, and relies on his athleticism to spring him from trouble. That worked in college, but the NFL has taken the hearts of more than a few athletic quarterbacks who believe their legs could get them out of trouble on every play. Remember, even Cam Newton (who many compare Anthony Richardson to) eventually succumbed to his injuries.
While Richardson has perhaps the best arm of any quarterback prospect of the past few years, his touch and ability drop the ball into tight windows will need to improve. Throwing lanes in the NFL will be far smaller than those at Florida.
It bears repeating that his accuracy will be a major point of contention for NFL scouts. NFL general managers are notoriously dubious of quarterbacks with a sub-60% college completion percentage. Anthony Richardson completed just 53.8% of passes in his final season at Florida.
That’s a red flag for a quarterback who could be drafted in the first ten picks of the 2023 NFL Draft. Moreover, Anthony Richardson started only 13 games in his Florida career. Most coaches, a la Bill Parcells, at one time preferred that prospects start at least 30 games at the college level.
Anthony Richardson Could be a Top-Ten Pick
Having having identified his flaws, Richardson’s upside is enticing.
Richardson possesses the type of athleticism scouts drool over. His performance at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine will have NFL general managers salivating.
Richardson had a remarkable day at the NFL Scouting Combine. Saturday’s performance was perhaps the most dominate combine showing by a quarterback in the history of the event. The show he put on in Indianapolis will undoubtedly cement his position as a top-ten pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
That being said, the 21-year old would benefit greatly from a year or two on the bench to learn from a veteran quarterback. So which teams make the most sense for Anthony Richardson?
Best Fits for Anthony Richardson in the NFL
While Richardson’s game tape is full of flaws, many NFL teams will enamoured by his unlimited ceiling.
As is the case with many NFL players, his success will largely rely on situation. Richardson will need to be nurtured by a coaching staff with the chops and patience to develop his enticing raw tools.
Who better to coach Anthony Richardson than the man who just helped turn Jalen Hurts into a star? Former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen would be able to bring out the very best from Richardson in Indianapolis. His RPO-filled scheme would make the Colts an ideal landing spot for Anthony Richardson.
Overall, Richardson is a high-risk, high-reward prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. His raw talent is tantalizing, but his decision-making and accuracy issues could hold him back at the next level. Teams will need to weigh the potential upside against the risk when considering him in the draft.