The term “project” is thrown around regarding quarterbacks. A prospect with potential but is still very raw. Anthony Richardson is the ultimate project. Richardson enters the draft as a redshirt Sophomore who played his lone year as a starter at the University of Florida. Richardson has the best measurables of maybe any quarterback ever.
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The Florida product stands 6’5” and weighs 240 pounds, with only 10% of that weight being body fat. Unlike most quarterbacks of this size, Richardson has impressive speed. The 21-year-old reportedly runs a 4.4 40-yard dash which is believable when you watch his college tape. At Florida, Richardson excelled in running the ball, recording 713 rushing yards on 97 carries.
His 7.3 yards per carry ranked #4 in the country. Scouts say Richardson runs with the physicality of Cam Newton and speed of Lamar Jackson. The New Jersey native also possesses immense arm talent to throw 75 yards. Richardson has a quick release and can make any throw. His best attribute in the passing game is his ability to extend the play like few quarterbacks can. On play action roles where Richardson is going out of the pocket, he can beat unblocked defenders from any level to the edge, allowing him a shot at getting the ball out without any defenders at his feet.
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The reason Richardson is the fourth ranked QB by most experts is that, despite his obvious talent, his game tape has not been overly impressive. Richardson only completed 52% of his passes as a starter, a mark that ranked 102nd out of the 108 FBS quarterbacks who recorded at least 14 pass attempts per game. He is a bit quick to leave the pocket as his feet tend to get tight when pressured.
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He struggled with decision-making, and his pre-snap recognition skills were subpar. Despite his arm talent, the Florida product has displayed spotty mechanics leading to sporadic accuracy. Richardson reportedly has a high IQ and is diligent. With the right coaching, he should be able to clean up most of these issues. Richardson locks onto his first read way too often, sometimes following them across the field.
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There is a narrative regarding Richardson that he has an extremely high ceiling but a low floor. Richardson’s potential is through the roof. His ceiling is not as low as advertised. This past season, the top five teams in Expected Points Added per run were the Eagles, Bears, Giants, Ravens, and Bills. They were all led by mobile quarterbacks. In the last decade, the number of mobile quarterbacks has continuously grown. Still, people underrate how valuable having a Quarterback who can take off and run when nothing develops downfield. Even if Richardson never turns into an elite passer, his running ability will allow him to be a quality starting quarterback.