Few prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, or in any draft in recent memory, have as much sheer potential as Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson.
Richardson will not only be one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the NFL, but will also have one of the strongest arms in the League immediately upon being drafted. However, he is also a very inexperienced passer who still needs a considerable development to reach his potential.
There are some who believe the potential that Richardson represents is worth any amount of risk. There will be others, however, who look at his inconsistency and inaccuracy and will wonder if he’ll be a “coach killer” in the NFL.
Let’s take a look at what Richardson will bring to the NFL.
Prospect: Anthony Richardson (15)
Games Watched: vs. Georgia (2021), vs. Utah (2022), vs. Kentucky (2022), vs. Georgia (2022)
Games Played: 22
Yards (YPC): 1,116 (6.9 per carry)
Completions: 215 (54.7 percent)
Yards (YPA): 3,105 (7.9 per attempt)
Fumbles: 6 (3 lost)
Total touchdowns: 36 (24 passing, 12 rushing)
Games Played: 12
Yards (YPC): 654 (6.3 per carry)
Completions: 176 (53.8 percent)
Yards (YPA): 2,549 (7.8 per attempt)
Fumbles: 3 (2 lost)
Total touchdowns: 26 (17 passing, 9 rushing)
Best: Athleticism, size, arm strength, running ability
Worst: Mechanics, consistency, accuracy, experience
Projection: A raw developmental quarterback with Pro Bowl upside.
Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson has an elite combination of size, athleticism, and arm strength to play the position at the NFL level.
Richardson has uncommon size at 6-foot-4, 244 pounds to go with legitimately rare athleticism. His 4.43 second 40-yard dash, 40-inch vertical, and 10-foot-9 broad jump are among the best ever for a quarterback at the NFL Scouting Combine.
He is also a talented runner as well as an exceptionally athletic one. Richardson has good vision, great burst, contact balance, and long speed with the ball in his hands. That gives his offense a legitimate rushing threat at all times, even when in an empty set. He is a powerful runner who is able to shake off tackle attempts and even carry defenders in the open field.
Richardson is a good decision maker on both read-option and RPO plays, accurately reading the defender put in conflict by the play and distributing the ball correctly based off of that.
Richardson also has an exceptionally strong arm and is able to drive the ball to all levels of the field. He is able to make nearly any conceivable throw when dropping back and throwing with good mechanics. He generates a tremendous amount of velocity, and is even able to throw with zip when off-platform and unable to set his feet. He is able to throw with good accuracy from within the pocket, particularly when well-protected and in rhythm. Likewise, Richardson flashes good anticipation when throwing vertical routes. His athleticism also allows him to move the pocket on roll-outs, as well as evade rushers in the backfield and hurt the defense on scrambles. Richardson’s agility and sheer strength make him a very difficult quarterback to get on the ground. He can dodge bigger defenders in the backfield and simply shrug off smaller, quicker pass rushers.
Richardson is a very inexperienced quarterback, which shows up throughout his tape.
While he flashes good accuracy and anticipation when protected and in rhythm, he is inconsistent overall. Richardson’s footwork is erratic, and he sometimes aligns his feet and hips with his target, but other times his stance can be closed or open, leading to inconsistent accuracy and ball placement. He can miss his targets long or wide, and his receivers often have to leave their feet to haul in passes.
He can also show hesitation, double-clutching or holding the ball longer than necessary.
Richardson is willing to challenge coverages at all levels of the field, but he can also miss post-snap coverage rotations and make ill-advised throws into double (or triple) coverage.
Overall Grade: 8.0
Anthony Richardson should be considered a developmental quarterback right now, but he projects as a starter relatively early in his career.
Few quarterbacks have entered the NFL with as much potential and upside as Richardson. He’s a truly freakish athlete for the position and could be an All Pro player if he reaches his ceiling. That said, Richardson is (much) more potential than production right now. He needs work and consistency in his throwing mechanics, which impacts his accuracy and ball placement. Too often he misses receivers who are open, or forces them to leave their feet as defenders are incoming.
Richardson will need to land in a situation in which he can not only get good coaching to develop his considerable tools, but ideally he would be able to do so behind a starting quarterback. He’ll need to get on the field sooner rather than later, but teams should be wary of putting too much on him too soon. Not out of fear of breaking his confidence, but rather because they are building a quarterback (nearly) from the ground up and that’s a process. Richardson will need a team with patience and a coach willing to incorporate “college” concepts while he develops.
The potential reward in selecting Richardson is sky-high and he could prove to be Franchise Quarterback. However, there is also a very real risk of him turning out to be a bust as well, at least if his development isn’t handled carefully.