Redshirt sophomore quarterback Anthony Richardson declared for the 2023 NFL Draft after a lone season as the starter for the Florida Gators, likely securing a high placement in the opening round along the way.
There’s serious polarization within the draftnik community, marking Richardson as a true boom-or-bust selection. He has all of the physical tools one could ask for from a franchise quarterback, and Richardson’s intangibles are coveted, too. The detractors tend to point to poor accuracy numbers, mechanical flaws, and a lack of experience.
Weight: 244 pounds
40 time: 4.43 seconds
Few players at any position possess the impressive combination of size and speed. Richardson’s natural comparison by most evaluators is Cam Newton, and while that’s absolutely fair, Josh Allen also comes to mind. Both came out of college with serious accuracy question marks, their mobility is a strength, size comparisons are close, and a sky-high ceiling. … Not bad company to keep if Richardson lives up to either comparison.
Like Allen and Newton, Richardson figures to be a first-round selection. There are too many positives in a rare physical package to be overlooked by all 32 teams, even if it means a franchise will have to trade back into the round to nab him.
Table: Anthony Richardson stats (2020-22)
*includes postseason/bowl games (stats from Sports Reference)
- Athletic ability as a rusher is on a different level — five TDs of at least 45 yards in his last 19 appearances
- Strong arm and can uncork a deep ball with ease
- Drives intermediate throws into tight windows
- Size and speed combination are elite
- Slower-body strength to shake off would-be tacklers in the pocket, drive the pile on sneaks, and power through defenders beyond the line of scrimmage
- Fits a number of offensive systems — ideal for an RPO-focused design with a zone-blocking scheme. Experience from under center, in shotgun and pistol
- Pretty good feel for the pocket and is able to buy time while keeping his eyes downfield
- Showed considerable improvement protecting the ball in the second half of 2022
- Team leader, character-first type with strong intangibles
- Above all, accuracy is his primary weakness. While correctable, as seen with the aforementioned Allen, it remains a concern.
- Could stand to develop better touch on short throws
- Needs to work on his footwork, which will go a long way to improve accuracy woes
- Inconsistency from play to play, drive to drive is tough to ignore
- Only 13 career starts means there will be some growing pains early in his NFL career and suggests he’ll be forced to sit for a year or more
- Suspect vision when going through reads
- Doesn’t consistently trust his first instincts as a passer and can hold the ball too long, leading to unnecessary mistakes and throwaways
Fantasy football outlook
For Year 1, the outlook is about as gloomy as it gets if you’re looking for an immediate starter. Thankfully, it’s pretty rare a quarterback is coveted as a fantasy QB1 in his first year. Richardson is an awesome gamble in dynasty formats but not without risk. Indianapolis, Washington and Houston present an opportunity to compete for a Week 1 starting gig.
Seattle makes a great deal of sense for his landing spot. Pete Carroll can roll with Geno Smith for another year or two and then transition to Richardson. The Atlanta Falcons also present an interesting situation even after drafting Desmond Ridder in the third round last season. He enters the year as the presumed starter but is far from a lock to close the year in that role. Baltimore is worth watching if Lamar Jackson is indeed sent packing.
Other possible destinations with a stop-gap option in place include the Carolina Panthers, Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings, and Los Angeles Rams all could be in play.
In the right spot, surrounded by a strong coaching staff, Richardson has MVP-caliber upside but also comes with bench-warming downside of near equal proportion.