Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson is one of the most polarizing prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. Coming off one of the best NFL Combine performances ever, there is no player with more upside in the 2023 draft class than Richardson.
Richardson isn’t nearly as polished of a prospect as Bryce Young nor does he offer the list of collegiate accomplishments to match C.J. Stroud or Hendon Hooker. Similar to Will Levis, everything with Richardson is about projection. If an NFL coach or general manager could build their prototype quarterback, Richardson’s size, athleticism and skill set would be the mold.
How good will Richardson be in the NFL? He is the greatest unknown with scheme fit, coaching staff, and development all playing a part. Keeping all of that in mind, let’s dive into our scouting report and NFL projection for Richardson along with his stats and resume.
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Anthony Richardson 40 time and measurables
- 40-yard dash: 4.43 seconds (1st among QBs)
- Anthony Richardson height: 6-foot-4
- Anthony Richardson weight: 244 pounds
- Anthony Richardson hand size: 10.5 inches
- Relative Athletic Score: 10/10
With those numbers in mind, now let’s dive into our Anthony Richardson draft profile.
Anthony Richardson stats and background
Richardson generated buzz as a high-upside prospect out of high school. Rated as a 247 Sports’ four-star recruit, the Gainesville, Florida native weighed 224 pounds out of Eastside High School. He quickly committed to the Florida Gators, but didn’t generate a ton of national attention, ranked as the 30th-best recruit in Florida and 204th in the entire nation for the 2020 recruiting class.
He barely saw the field as a freshman in the COVID-impacted 2020 season. Richardson attempted just one pass during the regular season in his first season but turned seven carries into 61 rushing yards. In the Cotton Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners, Richardson threw his first touchdown pass, a 27-yard connection with Jordan Pouncey in the closing minutes of a blowout.
|Anthony Richardson stats||QB Rating||TD – INT||Completion %||Rushing||PFF Grade|
Richardson showed enticing potential in limited opportunities as a sophomore. He opened the 2021 season with consecutive 100-yard games, including his first 100-yard performance through the air (@ South Florida). However, he wouldn’t attempt double-digit passes until October, combining to complete 22-of-39 attempts for 249 yards and a 3-4 TD-INT line on the road against the LSU Tigers and at home against the No.1-ranked Georgia Bulldogs.
When the Gators hired head coach Billy Napier before the 2022 season, there was considerable excitement surrounding Richardson. With another year to develop, expectations were high for one of the most physically-gifted players in college football.
Richardson flashed in some games. In the season opener against Utah, he rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns with 168 yards through the air. Three weeks later, he accounted for four total touchdowns with over 500 yards of offense at Neyland Stadium against No. 11 Tennessee. However, his inconsistency proved to be an issue.
Anthony Richardson stats by month
- September: 876 pass yards, 2-5 TD-INT, 111.7 QB rating, 196 rush yards, 4.8 ypc, 5 TDs
- October: 762 pass yards, 5-2 TD-INT, 145.9 QB rating, 218 rush yards, 8.4 ypc, 1 TD
- November: 911 pass yards, 10-2 TD-INT, 139.6 QB rating, 240 rush yards, 6.7 ypc, 3 TDs
Richardson’s inaccuracy proved to be his biggest issue. Across 12 games, he only completed at least 60 percent of his passes four times and his completion rate fell below 50 percent four times.
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Heading into the pre-draft process, a majority of NFL teams viewed Richardson as a Day 2 pick who would need multiple years to develop. Thanks to the scouting combine and teams prioritizing physical tools, though, Richardson’s draft stock climbed dramatically.
Anthony Richardson scouting report
It’s not difficult to understand why Richardson draws some NFL comparisons to Josh Allen and Cam Newton. Allen – 6-foot-4 and 237 pounds – posted a 9.67 Relative Athletic Score at the 2018 NFL Combine. He boasts one of the strongest arms in modern NFL history, uses his size like a fullback when he runs and makes wild off-platform throws that fill highlight reels.
The similarities to Newton are also evident. Newton -5-foot-5 and 248 pounds – posted a 9.99 RAS at the scouting combine in 2022. Like Richardson, he boasted one of the strongest arms in the draft class and he now ranks second all-time in rushing yards by a quarterback (5,628) with the most career rushing touchdowns (75) by a quarterback.
In terms of his arm strength, Richardson recorded a 60 mph velocity on his fastest throws at the scouting combine. On the field, he displays easy arm strength that can be seen with effortless throws 60-plus yards downfield without needing to use his entire body. Simply put, the physical tools are better than any other player in the class.
In terms of his pro-readiness, Richardson is probably better off not starting in 2023 with his rookie season dedicated to working with a quarterbacks coach. However, you will see flashes when he stands in the pocket with defenders in his face and keeps his eyes downfield then makes a pinpoint throw into tight coverage that only his receiver can catch.
While it’s no surprise that Richardosn’s effectiveness dropped off considerably when facing pressure, there are some numbers to consider. He ranked 121st among college quarterbacks in completion rate vs pressure and 108th in passer rating from a clean pocket. Furthermore, his 60.4% completion rate when not under pressure ranked 138th in the FBS.
- Anthony Richardson stats vs pressure (2022): 48.8 PFF grade, 38% completion, 7-3 TD-INT, 66.6. NFL QB rating, 5.5 yards per attempt, 13 sacks
- Anthony Richardson vs clean pocket (2022): 89.4 PFF grade, 60.4% completion, 10-6 TD-INT, 02.9 NFL QB rating, 8.8 yards per attempt
While pressure is a bit of an issue, he isn’t as much of a complete project in that area as one might expect. Richardson’s 19.4 percent percentage of pressures responsible for is lower than Young (34%), Stroud (25%) and Levis (23.5%), per Pro Football Focus.
Among his peers in the 2023 draft class, Richardson (114.6) narrowly trailed Hooker (124.4), Young (118.1) and Stroud (116.9) in passer rating on throws 20-plus yards downfield. Of that group, he earned a higher PFF grade than Stroud (92.6) on deep throws.
- Anthony Richardson throwing deep: 93.1 PFF grade, 9-2 TD-INT, 40.6% completion
- Anthony Richardson on play action: 11-2 TD-INT, 57.1% completion, 118 QB rating
Richardson is a work in progress when it comes to the finer points of the game. His inexperience shows when it comes to reading the defense after the snap and manipulating defensive backs. While it only shows up a few times per game, there are instances when you see him trick opponents into giving him the open window he wants.
Inaccuracy is Richardson’s biggest problem and it can all be tied back to his throwing mechanics. NFL coaches might be able to live with some of the mistakes he would make as a rookie diagnosing plays, but Richardson’s penchant for off-target rocket balls without consistent touch and ball placement is what will keep him off the field at the start of his career.
Richardson is a quarterback coach’s dream and his talent can turn an offensive coordinator into one of the NFL’s most coveted coaching candidates. If he hits, you have an MVP candidate who can carry his team to a Super Bowl. If he doesn’t develop, Richardson can’t be a starter.
- Anthony Richardson draft grade: 82/100
- Anthony Richardson draft projection: Top 10 pick
Anthony Richardson’s NFL projection
There are going to be NFL teams who rate Richardson as the best quarterback in the 2023 draft class, while others might place him fourth in the pecking order. If he’s selected with a top-five pick, Richardson is the type of prospect who will either get peopled fired three years from now or be responsible for his coaches and general managers landing contract extensions.
We lean towards the latter, even while recognizing the incredible risk. ESPN’s Matt Miller noted that multiple teams said Richardson had the best interview by any quarterback at the combine, with some even remarking that it was the best in a few years.
Quarterbacks like this only hit if they have a work ethic that matches their physical traits, it’s one of the biggest reasons why Allen and Newton became NFL stars. By all accounts, Richardson brings that to the table and the right buy-in for coaches bodes well for his chances of reaching his potential as a superstar quarterback at the next level.
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Don’t expect greatness from Richardson early in the NFL. Allen ended his first three seasons with a 56.3% completion rate, a 30-21 TD-INT ratio and he averaged just 184.4 passing yards per game with a 78.2 quarterback rating. It takes time for passers who need a lot of development to iron out their flaws, all while learning from their mistakes and the growing pains in the first two seasons.
If Richardson hits, he’s going to be a perennial Pro Bowl selection who could score 40-plus total touchdowns in multiple seasons and takes his team on deep playoff runs.