NFL Hot Press: Teams See Anthony Richardson as Very Raw

Teams See Anthony Richardson as Very Raw

Updated Aug. 19, 2022
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

At the start of the 2021 college football season, Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson made some amazing highlight-reel plays that displayed his a big-time skill set with a powerful arm and dangerous running ability. Long-suffering Gators fans were hollering for Richardson to be named the starter over running quarterback Emory Jones. but former Florida coach Dan Mullen continued to stick with Jones. Mullen cited Richardson getting banged up, but also not practicing well and needing to improve on the little things. While Richardson is universally viewed as a first-round talent by NFL scouts, pro sources noted that after watching Richardson in fall practice, they believe he is extremely raw and needs a ton of development to be a starter at the next level.

“[Richardson] still is making lots of young mistakes,” said an AFC director of player personnel. “He does not see the field the way you would like. He looks very young mentally. He doesn’t throw it away and takes unnecessary hits or forces passes that are going to be intercepted. His short passing needs work. It feels like he is aiming the ball on short throws. He doesn’t have the offense mastered and is playing with no confidence.”

In 2021, Richardson completed 38-of-64 passes for 529 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions while also running for three touchdowns on the ground. Richardson is a big quarterback, but team sources say the listed numbers of 6-foot-4, 232 pounds could be inflated.

“People have said he is like Cam Newton, but that’s not the case,” said the AFC director. “He is not huge like Cam. Cam is like the size of a defensive end. Anthony is more like a F tight end and looks like he’s 6-3.”

While Richardson is viewed as needing a lot of work, his skill set still has pro evaluators impressed.

“He definitely has a big arm and is athletic,” said the AFC director of player personnel. “His long ball could be his greatest asset; he throws a pretty long ball and is accurate. At this point, he might be a better version of Malik Willis as a prospect. [Richardson] is not ready to be a plug-and-play starter. It would not surprise me if he gets a backup-to-starter grade.”

Sources say the word around Gainesville is that Richardson will enter the 2023 NFL Draft if he has a good 2022 season. There are also rumors of Florida pooling huge NIL money in effort to get Richardson to stay for another season. Given his rawness as a passer while learning a new offense under Billy Napier, it might be in Richardson’s best interest to play two seasons as Florida’s starter to develop before going pro. Richardson has a lot riding on 2022 being a breakout year for him and the Gators.