2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Anthony Richardson

  • Anthony Richardson, 6-4/236

  • Quarterback

  • Florida

  • Anthony Richardson Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Amazing skill set
  • Ideal size for a NFL quarterback
  • Cannon of a right arm
  • Throws an accurate and beautiful deep ball
  • Can stretch the field vertically with his elite arm strength
  • Good athlete
  • Excellent mobility
  • Running threat
  • Keeps his eyes downfield as he scrambles
  • Hard to sack
  • Amazing strength to break tackles in the pocket
  • Throws a good spiral
  • Has a quick release
  • Huge upside

  • Weaknesses:
  • Extremely inaccurate as a passer
  • Consistently misses routine completions
  • Has a lot of passes go high
  • Needs to improve ability to make finesse throws
  • Struggles to throw a catchable ball in the short to intermediate field
  • Can get rattled by his own play, defenses, the flow of the game
  • Sometimes holds the ball too long
  • Ball security
  • Decision-making needs to improve
  • Plays down to opponents
  • Struggled against good defenses
  • Inexperienced; only 1-year starter

  • Summary: Since the Tim Tebow era ended in 2009, Florida Gator fans have been suffering through some disappointing football. Year-after-year, Florida fans are left pining for the days of Tebow or the Steve Spurrier fun-and-gun offense. There finally seemed to be some optimism brewing in the fan base in Septemeber 2021, when Richardson was wearing Tebow’s legendary No. 15 while running over tacklers and throwing deep-ball touchdowns while playing in a rotation behind quarterback Emory Jones. The Gators had a nice offense with pocket-passing Kyle Trask, but the dual-threat Richardson was a sight that had not been seen with the program since Tebow. 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. To go along with amazing highlights, Richardson had missed time with injuries and had some painful lowlights, especially in Florida’s loss to Georgia. After Dan Mullen was fired, new head coach Billy Napier made Richardson the starting quarterback and Jones transferred out.

    Richardson played really well to open 2022, leading the Gators to upset Utah. As good as Richardson was against the Utes, he was horrible against Kentucky, costing Florida the game with two horrible interceptions. Richardson then struggled against South Florida, with the Gators barely beating a bad Bulls team at home. Richardson rebounded by throwing for 453 yards against Tennessee, and he had a mixed outing versus LSU that featured a beautiful bomb for a touchdown pass and a highlight-reel 81-yard touchdown run, but also some painful inaccuracy. He struggled against Georgia and Florida State late in the season as well. Richardson completed only 54 percent of his passes in 2022 for 2,549 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. On the ground, he totaled 629 yards and nine touchdowns. Richardson really needed to go back to school to try to become a better football player, but he decided to forego his remaining eligibility to enter the 2023 NFL Draft.

    Richardson is a difficult evaluation for the next level. He has size, a cannon for an arm size, and some field vision for working though his progressions. His elite arm strength lets him fire deep down the field or blaze a bullet past defenders. His greatest asset as a passer is his deep ball. There are highlight-reel moments of Richardson dropping in beautiful passes downfield with air underneath them and perfect placement to a receiver running deep. Part of what makes Richardson tough to evaluate, is while he flashed perfect accuracy on deep passes, he presented absolutely terrible accuracy in the short to intermediate part of the field. The mismatch makes Richardson is an enigma.

    Aside from his powerful arm, Richardson is amazing with his legs. He has great athleticism for dodging sacks in the pocket, but he is probably even more dynamic with the ball in his hands. Richardson will cuts around defenders and possesses the breakaway speed to rip off yards in chunks. Along with his speed and athletic ability, Richardson is big quarterback with a strong build that add power to his running. Richardson’s ability as a runner is rare and special.

    There also are a lot of flaws to Richardson as a passer. His accuracy is horrible, especially in the short to intermediate part of the field, and he will consistently miss badly on many routine completions. Over my 12 years as a draft analyst, and 15 seasons total working around pro football, Richardson is probably the most inaccurate early-round quarterback prospect who I have ever seen. He has a habit of overthrowing passes or tossing balls too high, which are both problematic for racking up interceptions in the NFL. Richardson also routinely rifles the ball too hard for receivers to control. He has to learn to take something off some of his passes to help create more completions.

    Additionally, Richardson lacks confidence at quarterback. When he starts out well, he can get into a rhythm and play better. If he starts slowly, he can get rattled by the defense and struggle to break out of his funk. Steady pass-rushes bearing down on Richardson often led him to make bad decisions.

    Sources say Richardson could be a super star of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, including running a crazy fast 40 time for a quarterback. In fact, some sources think Richardson could put up a wide receiver-like 40-yard dash time in the 4.4s or 4.5s.

    There is no doubt that Richardson has an elite physical skill set ans a plethora of tools to turn into an NFL starter. His best fit would come in a downfield pro-digit offense that lets him throw the ball vertically and to the sideline. It would be best if Richardson were paired with a strong running game, which would let him go vertical off of play-action. The West Coast system has a lot of high-percentage quick passes to move the chains, and that might not work well for Richardson because of his consistent inaccuracy in the short to intermediate part of the field.

    In the 2023 NFL Draft, Richardson could go as high as the first round and as low as the second round round. Overall, pro teams were split on if Richardson would go in the first round.

    “Yeah, he’s a tough study,” an AFC director of player personnel told WalterFootball.com. “I don’t think he goes in the first round. Very talented physical tools, but has no idea how to play the position.”

    After Richardson broke the news that he was entering the 2023 NFL Draft, I texted a different AFC director of player personnel. That source responded with a faceplant emoji before saying, “That was a mistake. He needs another year.”

    A few sources said it was possible Richardson would go in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, but they did not elaborate. One said they thought Richardson would go high in Round 1, but all the sources contacted felt he needs more development. “He’s a long way from being ready,” said an NFC director of college scouting. “As an athlete, he’s a first-rounder; as a passer, he definitely is not.”

    Player Comparison: Cam Newton/Christian Hackenberg. If things go well for Richardson, I think his ceiling would be a Cam Newton-type quarterback. Newton was a strong-armed dynamic athlete who could make plays other NFL quarterbacks could only dream of. Richardson makes those running plays and deep ball passes on occasion.

    If Richardson is a bust, I think he would resemble something like Hackenberg – a quarterback who struggled with accuracy, confidence and making routine completions. Richardson similarly has natural arm talent but scary inaccuracy without the knowledge of how to play the position.


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