The NFL Draft is coming up in less than two weeks, and for a few Gators, it’s set up to be a life-changing day. There are multiple Gators looking to get their name called, like O’Cyrus Torrence and Gervon Dexter, but there is perhaps no prospect more polarizing than QB Anthony Richardson.
We all know the upside that Richardson has. He may the best athlete to play quarterback ever and broke multiple records at the NFL Combine. He can take any play to the house and has the arm strength to throw the ball through the roof (literally).
But there have been critiques of AR’s consistency and accuracy, which could give some teams hesitation to draft him.
Bill Connelly of ESPN broke down each QB prospect in-depth and talked about Richardson’s strengths, as well as his shortcomings.
"“The only area where Richardson managed even standard-level completion rates was on quick hitters behind the line of scrimmage. Among the top prospects his footwork was easily the least consistent, and while the team picking him inevitably will employ a quarterbacks coach who has said “Oh, I can fix him for sure” to the general manager, QB coaches are only so effective in that regard. Instincts are difficult to mold.”"
Florida fans are well aware of Anthony Richardson’s inconsistency at times as a passer. Down the field and deep passes could become a strength for him given his strength, but he has to work on the little things before he can thrive in the NFL.
Connelly also made the point that Richardson, despite being an elite runner, wasn’t able to rely on his legs when the passing game was slow.
"“Worse, Richardson wasn’t necessarily able to rely on his legs when the pass wasn’t working — a Newton specialty — at least not against good defenses. He faced four opponents that finished in the top 20 of defensive SP+ (Georgia, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Missouri) and played well against only A&M. His numbers in these four games: 57-for-114 (50%) for 681 yards (11.9 per completion) with four TDs, three INTs and only 146 total rushing yards at 5.0 per carry.”"
At times it felt like Richardson was told not to run to protect himself from injury, as he’s been known to have little injury bugs throughout his career. But still, if he can only be an effective runner when the defense has to account for the pass, that lack of being able to take the game over could hurt him at the pro level.
Despite the critiques, Connelly still sees Anthony Richardson as an intriguing prospect and is more than aware of his sky-high ceiling.
"“I definitely understand the draw here, and if you’re aiming to land the lump of clay with the highest possible ceiling, your gaze should probably shift toward Richardson, not Levis. But the accuracy numbers are scary, and there’s no guarantee they’ll ever improve.”"
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