Anthony Richardson 2023 NFL Draft Profile

Photo Cred: Bleacher Report

The quarterback position is the most important in the sport of football, yet many franchises encounter the greatest difficulties in finding a successful long-term quarterback. Each year in the NFL Draft, a crop of quarterbacks is scrutinized with the goal of predicting who can become a franchise quarterback at the next level. Every 10 or so years, there is a prospect such as Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, or Joe Burrow who is considered a unanimous franchise quarterback and indeed reaches those heights. However, most quarterbacks are polarizing and many are drafted with a leap of faith that they will be able to improve on certain aspects of their game. Anthony Richardson, the 6’4″ 232 lb. physical specimen from Florida, exemplifies this. Let’s dive into the tape to analyze Richardson’s strengths and weaknesses and assess his chances of becoming a good NFL quarterback.

Strengths: Richardson possesses elite physical traits. He is a really big quarterback prospect with upper-body and lower-body thickness. His arm strength is top-notch as well. Richardson is a really good athlete, especially for his size, showing good agility, burst, and speed. He flashes a lot as a passer. Some of his throws to the intermediate range are on the money, showing a solid grasp of timing. He is not just a one-read passer and has flashed the ability to go through multiple progressions and throw to his second or third read. Richardson senses pressure really well, climbing and navigating the pocket properly in response to what he feels. He can reset his base effectively in the pocket when needed. Richardson is not afraid to throw despite an incoming hit and has the height to throw over a defender closing in on him. When scrambling or by design, he throws accurately on the run. He can also alter his arm angle when needed. Richardson is a really talented runner who will always make defenses account for this aspect of his game. He is a big runner with great power and contact balance, making him really difficult to tackle both as a runner and in the pocket. His physicality matches his power, as he is not afraid to lower his shoulder and grind out the tough yardage. Richardson’s burst and speed also make him a big-play threat with his legs. 

Weaknesses: Richardson is just a one-year starter, and his inexperience shows in his game, particularly as a passer. His accuracy is far too inconsistent in the short and intermediate ranges and is downright poor when throwing deep. Even when the throw is accurate enough, the ball placement is often off and requires his receiver to adjust. Richardson’s touch is a work in progress but these issues especially arise from poor mechanics, including his throwing motion, which is not tight enough currently. In addition to sacrificing his accuracy, his long windup also makes his release slower and makes it easier for defenders to strip him of the football as he throws. Richardson also struggles to properly read the field. He is inconsistent in reading the full field when going through his progressions, and he throws interceptions when he fails to locate a lurking defender. His decision-making also needs work, as he occasionally makes ill-advised throws and especially takes unnecessary sacks when scrambling instead of throwing the ball away. 

Bottom Line: Richardson is the definition of a boom-or-bust quarterback prospect. His size, arm strength, and athleticism are tantalizing and offer him the potential of becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the league, comparable to Josh Allen. However, Richardson is very inexperienced and raw, as his accuracy, mechanics, processing, and decision-making need a lot of work. Richardson will need a skilled and patient coaching staff who are able to fix his issues and won’t rush him into a starting role too early in his career, but the reward could be great.