Anthony Richardson is one of the most polarizing QB prospects in recent history at the NFL Draft. While some think he could be the first overall pick this year, others just don’t see his upside, and think he’ll be an NFL bust.
For obvious reasons, we feel that Richardson has the potential to be a spectacular player in the pros and has an upside as high as anyone that we’ve ever seen.
A former NFL coach shares our optimism.
Former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith discussed all the QB prospects with OLBG, and says that Anthony Richardson can be an “outstanding quarterback.”
Florida football: Anthony Richardson has generational ability
The biggest critique of Richardson throughout the draft process has been his accuracy and his consistency in throwing the ball 10+ yards down the field.
But Mike Smith pinned those concerns to a lower volume of starts and opportunities for AR compared to other QBs in this class.
"“The fast riser right now is Anthony Richardson. If you look at his numbers as a two-year starter, it doesn’t show you a whole lot when you watch the tape because it’s a limited number of snaps…But he blew everybody away at the combine. His arm strength at the combine had everybody talking, he’s got the best physical skills, the size and he’s probably the best athlete in the draft…He’s only 20 years old so there’s a big upside. He doesn’t have the numbers the other guys do because he hasn’t played as much.”"
It’s easy to nitpick and focus on the negatives of a player like Richardson, which, granted, is an important step when evaluating draft picks. But for the teams near the top of the draft board, most of which are in need of a star to rebuild around, AR is the perfect gamble.
"“But he’s a guy you can plug and play in the run-pass-option (RPO) offenses that everyone in the league is working towards…If you have to throw it 40 times a game, he can probably do it, but he has the physical tools and makeup to be a potentially outstanding quarterback.”"
Nobody is denying the risk that taking Richardson comes with. As Smith said, “He’s had the least amount of playing time out of the other top quarterbacks so he’s a hit-or-miss guy.”
But for NFL teams in need of a spark and a new face in charge, you couldn’t ask for a better player than Anthony Richardson.
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