From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today I’ll be profiling Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson.
#15 ANTHONY RICHARDSON, QUARTERBACK, FLORIDA (R. SO.) 6040, 232 LBS.
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Anthony Richardson||6’4, 232||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|40 Yard Dash||10 Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Big, strong, limber athletic body
— Above average to elite arm strength
— Scans the field well due to impressive height
— Great zip on the ball on any given throw
— Evades the rush well, being able to make most any play out of structure
— Has great feet allowing himself to float around in the pocket
— Makes good reads when given a clean pocket
— Durable quarterback that can routinely run over linebackers and big defensive backs
— Can become lethal part of any rushing attack
— Makes good decisions with the football, throwing the ball away when necessary
— Doesn’t take unnecessary sacks, pulls the football, and takes off when things break down
— Stands in the pocket and takes the big hit while delivering the football
— Can get rattled when his first read disappears
— Lacks overall accuracy for the position
— Sometimes leaves the pocket a little early instead of trusting his protection
— Needs to trust the offensive plan rather than relying on his own playmaking at times
— Takes big hits running the football, trying to get the extra two to three yards instead of sliding
— Born May 22, 2001 (age 21)
— Redshirt Sophomore from Gainesville, FL
— Four-star recruit coming out of high school, ranked number nine among all dual-threat quarterbacks in 2020 class
— 2019 Elite 11 finalist
— All-SEC Freshman team (2021)
— 2020 as a freshman he played in four games, against Missouri in his debut he was 1-2 27 yards and a touchdown with three carries for 15 yards
— Against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, he had seven total carries for 61 yards, and threw a touchdown pass
— 2021 He made his first career start, appearing in 8 games
— Was 38-64 passing with six touchdowns, 529 yards, and five interceptions
— Rushed 51 times for 401 yards and three touchdowns with an 80 yard run, averaging 7.9 yards per carry
— 2022 Started all 12 games
— SEC Offensive player of the week (Week 1)
— Finished with2,549 yards passing 17 touchdowns
— Second on the team with 9 rushing touchdowns
— Third on the team in rushing yards (654)
— Finished his career with 161 rushing attempts for 1,116 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging 6.9 yards per carry, and 215-393 for 3,105 yards with 24 touchdowns and 15 interceptions
There isn’t a ton of certainty in this year’s draft class at the quarterback position outside of Bryce Young and CJ Stroud. However, Richardson brings a ton of positives to the table when it comes to what he can bring to an NFL franchise. He is a big, strong quarterback whose athleticism allows him to make all the throws you want to see. He’s an elite runner with the football who breaks tackles against defensive backs and linebackers alike. The zip he adds on his passes is lethal and if he can train himself on the accuracy of his passes, it will really open that part of his game. He evades pressure well by being very light on his feet in the pocket. He sometimes trusts his own abilities over the offensive scheme, leading to some positive plays but also some negative as well. His one major negative trait is the lack of accuracy. You see this on tight-window throws and some deep balls alike.
In this run against LSU, it’s a simple run but it’s just a small example of who Richardson is as a ball carrier. He is a guy who thrives in making contact. He is a tough runner that is going to fight for those few extra yards every play. Here he not only makes one man miss, but he breaks multiple tackles to pick up a couple of extra yards. He’s the kind of player who when the game is on the line, he’s always going to stick his foot in the ground and run through contact to get that first down or touchdown to change, or even win games.
I’ve been so impressed and pleased with the way he extends plays and avoids sacks. You first see raw strength and a powerful core, but he is like a dancer on his feet. He’s got such a rare blend of speed and strength for the position. When his protection gets interrupted, he remains unrattled while escaping the pocket to extend the play by throwing the ball downfield or deciding to run to pick up extra yardage. We often talk in football about a winners mentality and this speaks to the guy’s willingness to win and his drive to compete overall.
This play alone made him some money regardless of completed or not. No, the receiver doesn’t catch this ball, but this kind of arm strength is elite to put it mildly. Whether or not it’s mostly to credit to his mechanics or whatever the case may be, this is one of the main things you want when you search for your next quarterback. Maybe he gets into a situation as a pro where he has a receiver with elite size, and he can throw this ball up to a 6’4 or taller guy and this is a score but, still, uber impressive to see a guy with this kind of cannon.
One of the bigger questions you like to see answered when evaluating any quarterback is how he operates when the play breaks down. How does he answer when the defense takes away the first read, and along with that, how does he excel at extending the play? Can he at all, for that matter? That’s a box I feel comfortable checking with Richardson. Here the first read gets pulled away from him due to the rush collapsing the pocket. He’s able not only to avoid the rush but keep his eyes down the field and find the open receiver.
Here against LSU, this is a fine example of a combination of a couple of things. For starters it speaks for a little bit of his accuracy issues, but secondly decision making. The edge defender goes essentially unblocked so his decision now needs to be made in a matter of milliseconds, but overall, in this instance, he has to get rid of the football and throw it away. He is vastly underrated as an athlete and I think at times he forgets to play football instead of playing smart. Live to see another down here and chunk the football away, or even tuck it dedicating to the run and take the sack.
Another fine example of his accuracy issues. Here Is a fade ball to the outside and there are no X’s and O’s here. He just must throw this ball to the back corner where the only guy that can grab it is his receiver. This is one of the few plays in football that has one rule and that’s no matter what this ball goes to the outside corner so when your receiver gets an outside release, he’s the only one that can get to this ball. Point. Blank. Period.
The overwhelming thought with Richardson is his ability to make things happen. You can talk all day long about speed, strength, etc. but the guy is just a gamer. He makes the plays happen when they need to be made. He has the arm strength that we talked about before, but I think he plays his best football when the play calling is allowing him to make those intermediate to deep throws when given the opportunity, because it’s caused defenses to back off and let him have the underneath stuff. Check downs, drags, screens, etc. An air attack offense, or at least a pass offense that has a lot of variance in it, best suits his game. Get defenses confused and let him have those soft zone coverages in the middle of the field and even deep down the sidelines. Let him give those receivers a shot at a 50/50 ball down into opponent territory. When drafting this kid you cannot handicap him as a play caller whatsoever.
This is a player who can throw quick game, you can trust him to throw play-action, intermediate all the way up to the deep ball. You can even run designed quarterback run stuff if you so choose. A player that he resembles very closely to in my eyes is Josh Allen. Both are uber-athletic guys who run like big receivers and even running backs. Very strong guys that can break the tackles of most all defenders and can make most any play out of structure.
Will the Steelers look to add to that position for solid backup play for 2023? That’s yet to be seen, but there’s no realistic path to Pittsburgh drafting Richardson in 2023.
Projection: Mid to Late First Round
Depot Draft Grade: 8.9 – Year One Quality Starter (1st Round)
Games Watched: VS. Utah (2022) VS. Tennessee (2022) VS. LSU (2022) VS. USF (2022)