2023 NFL Draft Profile: Anthony Richardson

by Evan Ritter
2023 NFL Draft Profile: Anthony Richardson

In this 2023 NFL Draft profile, I'll be breaking down Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson.

Richardson is an electrifying player with unbelievable size, strength, and speed for a quarterback. In addition, he's freakishly athletic, with arguably the strongest arm in this year's QB class.

While he's a raw prospect overall, he potentially has the highest ceiling at the position. If a team can hit on him, they will hit big.

As a longtime Florida Gators fan, I'm ecstatic to break down Anthony Richardson. So let's get to it.

2023 NFL Draft Profile: Anthony Richardson

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  • College: Florida
  • Hometown: Gainesville, FL
  • Height: 6" 4"
  • Weight: 244lbs
  • Age: 21

College

Anthony Richardson played his early ball at Eastside High School in Gainesville, FL, where he was rated a 4-star recruit by ESPN and earned a 4-star grade by the highly reputable 247 Sports. During his high school career, Richardson threw for 4,633 yards, 1,633 rushing yards, and 41 total touchdowns.

Directly after high school, Richardson joined Florida University. However, he didn't see much action in his first year of college in 2020, only appearing in two games and attempting two passes. As a redshirt freshman in 2021, Richardson continued to see limited action. While he had zero starts, he did appear in seven games. He made the best of it and threw for 529 yards on 64 attempts, averaging 8.3 yards per pass with six touchdowns. In addition, he ran for 401 yards on 50 rushing attempts (7.9 YPC) and earned honors to the All-SEC Freshman Team.

In 2022, Richardson was finally handed the keys to the offense. In 12 games as a junior, he passed for 2,549 yards on 327 attempts (7.8 YPA) and 17 touchdowns with a solid QB rating of 84.3. In addition, he was dominant on the ground, rushing for 654 yards on 103 attempts (7.8 YPA) with nine touchdowns.

AR finished his career as a Florida Gator with 24 appearances and 13 starts, accumulating 3,105 passing yards and 24 touchdowns. He added 1,116 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground at 6.9 yards per rush attempt.

Strengths

Anthony Richardson's most appealing assets heading into the NFL Draft are his measurables and athleticism. He's a physically gifted specimen standing at 6'4" and 244lbs with just 10% body fat, who can run a 4.4 40 and throw a football 75 yards plus. His athletic prowess was on full display at the NFL Combine, where he put on an absolute show. Richardson led all quarterbacks with a 4.43 40, 40.5" vertical, and 10'9" broad jump resulting in an athletic score of 99, 1st overall among quarterbacks.

As a quarterback, Richardson has the rare combination of size, strength, and athleticism, giving him the highest ceiling at the position in this year's draft class. He's a true dual-threat quarterback who will bring explosive plays as a passer and runner to an offense. He has good footwork in the pocket and can operate in tight spaces with the arm strength to still throw downfield with accuracy, even under duress.

He's willing to stand in and take a hit while still delivering a strike. In addition, he has a fantastic ability to navigate the pocket and slide his feet. He can maneuver very well under pressure and use that smooth footwork to throw within the pocket or on the run with accuracy, but he can also quickly turn into a runner and use his 4.4 speed to scramble for big yards. His ability to make tight window throws on the move is something very few quarterbacks in this upcoming class can do.

While he has elite speed, he doesn't always look to run first. However, Richardson is a competent passer who can make NFL reads and throws from the pocket. At Florida, he was asked to be more than just a runner. He had to identify defenses and hit receivers running actual NFL concept routes. So, while he's far from flawless at it, he has shown the ability to make the right reads based on what the defense gives him.

He does need to develop his pre and post-snap recognition consistently. Still, on tape, there are multiple instances of him reading defenses perfectly, going through his progressions, and making the right throw. Even when they threw confusing looks at him or disguised their coverage, Richardson did a great job of making an accurate throw to the correct read. In addition, you can see he knows how to use outside and inside leverage to ensure only his receiver has a chance at catching the football.

Along with his immense talent as a runner and passer, Richardson has bull-like strength, allowing him the infinitive to shed defenders in and out of the pocket. His ability to navigate tight spaces and break tackles, combined with his world-class speed, led to rushing touchdowns of 45, 60, 73, 80, and 81 yards over his final two seasons at Florida. Some of his best plays came from bootlegs or options because they allowed him to hit full stride and use his speed to break off big runs or make throws on the move.

He only threw two interceptions in his final six games at Florida, proving he started to identify defenses better in addition to making quick, decisive, and accurate post-snap reads. His height and movement within the pocket will be a tremendous asset at the NFL level when reading opposing defenses. In addition, he has a giant arm and can easily deliver the ball deep downfield. He does need to improve his touch, but with his arm strength, he will have no problem making any NFL throw once he's fully developed as a passer at the next level.

Richardson can throw the deep ball and attack the secondary from sideline to sideline with his massive arm strength, in addition to his quick release. Add his elite rushing prowess with prototypical size and speed, and you have an incredibly appealing developmental prospect. At just 22 years old, teams will have plenty of time to cash in on his untapped potential and reach his tremendously high ceiling. After his performance at the NFL Combine, AR is skyrocketing up draft boards. So much so his name is beginning to pop up among the No.1 overall pick discussions.

Regardless of where he goes in the draft, he is an immensely talented quarterback, both as a runner and passer, with unbelievably pure athleticism. Whichever team lands the Florida product will need to take the time to develop his raw talent and build an offensive scheme around his strengths, but in doing so, they very well could have their next franchise quarterback. Anthony Richardson has the overall skill set to be the most talented prospect in this year's class, making him well worth a top-10 selection.

Weaknesses

While Richardson has excellent footwork to navigate the pock and escape pressure, it can get sloppy when throwing the football leading to inaccurate throws. He can sometimes rush his progressions and needs to be more consistent regarding his reads. He has a huge arm, but sometimes to a fault.

He tends to throw off his back foot and is all arm instead of stepping into his throws which tremendously throws off his accuracy. AR needs to learn to take some speed off his throws at times and improve his touch as a passer on specific routes. His ball placement is most accurate when he can throw at full strength and doesn't have to take anything off.  Unfortunately, his mechanics sometimes go to the waste side, and his inconsistencies lead to sporadic accuracy, especially under duress.

Richardson showed improvement with his post-snap and pre-snap recognition, but he still needs to be able to read defenses consistently at the level it takes to be a starter in the NFL. He needs to improve his ability to decipher information quickly and not lock on his first read while learning to manipulate defenders fully with his eyes.

Richardson has a bad habit of holding onto the football for too long and being indecisive instead of using his above-average quick release to his advantage. He'll likely be better suited landing on a team that will allow him to develop his raw skillset than a team that asks him to be their day-1 starter.

He has shown the ability to throw to receivers running actual NFL routes but, more often than not, struggles to throw them open and make anticipatory reads. He can launch the ball downfield but displays inaccuracy on intermediate throws. He doesn't always know when to identify zone reads, and he loses track of coverages easily. He is so athletic that he tries to make something out of nothing and will throw into blanket coverage or double coverage instead of throwing the ball away or taking a sack.

The biggest knocks on him are his limited experience and inaccuracy as a passer. He has only one year as a full-time starter in college, and while he showed flashes, the overall outlook as a passer leaves much to be desired. Richardson is wildly inaccurate at times and misses even the most effortless throws to wide-open receivers.

Nevertheless, he has raw ability and pure athleticism with an elite combination of strength, arm strength, and rushing power. However, he will need time to develop before being well-rounded enough to start at the NFL level or be a team's long-term option.

Fantasy Outlook

In dynasty Superflex leagues, you can expect Richardson to go as high as 1.02, but I've also seen him as low as 1.07. Early in the offseason, Richardson was often the odd man out when talking QB prospects. That quickly changed with his NFL Combine performance. Now the media suddenly can't get enough of AR, and he's the talk of every fantasy chat room.

While his big arm and playmaking instincts give him the highest upside in fantasy football rookie drafts, he's not necessarily the safest option. Managers will likely have to be patient before fully reaping the benefits of Richardsons' entire skillset.

He will need time to develop as a passer and work on his footwork, among other things, so he'll be better suited with a team where he doesn't have to play immediately. But if you have a roster construction that lends you the luxury of being able to wait on a player like Richardson to come into his own, then it could be a lucrative return on investment. On the flip side, if you need production at the quarterback position right away, you may be better off steering away from AR and going with one of the more NFL-ready QBs.

That said, the upside is likely too significant to see him make it out of the top five picks in Superflex or a top-15 pick in one-QB leagues. Depending on the landing spot, he also may find his way onto redraft and best ball rosters. Regardless, Richardson is an exciting prospect with a super-high ceiling, and fantasy managers alike can't wait to see where he lands.

Potential Landing Spots

Indianapolis Colts

e will see multiple quarterbacks go in the first ten picks, and any of the teams in that range could consider Richardson. However, from an offensive scheme standpoint, along with badly needing a quarterback, the Colts make sense.

Head coach Shane Steichen is known for maximizing his personnel and their talents. Jalen Hurts, for instance, was largely influenced by Steichen's coaching, and he had a massive part in developing the young quarterback into the NFL-caliber player he is today.

I imagine Steichen and the Colts would love to have the skill set of a high-upside prospect like Anthony Richardson.

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle is one of my favorite landing spots for Richardson. The Seahawks own the No.5 overall pick in this year's draft, and they just signed Geno Smith to a three-year contract extension. Locking up a veteran like Smith would allow them to draft his future predecessor. Who better than the tantalizing developmental prospect, Anthony Richardson?

AR would have ample time to develop and get the proper coaching on a team with other young core pieces on offense, like Kenneth Walker and DK Metcalf. It makes too much sense for them to refrain from taking a QB to grow behind Geno for the next year or so, and Anthony Richardson's immense upside is hard to pass up. I love this fit.

Anthony Richardson to Seattle at No.5. Who says no?

Bottom Line

Anthony Richardson undoubtedly has the highest upside of any quarterback in this year's draft class. If a team can unlock the highly touted prospect's full potential as a runner and a passer, the return on investment could be astronomical. His measurables are off the scale, and he has elite speed, height, and incredible arm strength.

With that said, his level of rawness and inexperience as a starter could give certain franchises pause. He's a substantial boom-or-bust roll of the dice. Richardson could be the next elite dual-threat quarterback, or he could be nothing more than a player with unlimited athleticism and potential but could never figure out how to transition to or run a traditional NFL offense.

However, I find it hard to believe a QB-needy team within the top ten picks passes on him. His untapped potential and ultimate upside leave too much to be desired.


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