In our Scouting Reports, we will give you a quick debrief to get you the information you need to know. We’ll also take it a step further and provide an in-depth review showing off examples of what we like, and what we don’t. Included is a date from the initial scouting report, this is so new notes can be added as the year goes on. Those new notes will be dated as well. With that, welcome to the Anthony Richardson scouting report!
If you’d like to see more, below are all the completed scouting reports for this season:
|Spencer Rattler* (2024)
|Michael Penix Jr.* (2024)
|Blake Corum* (2024)
39. 66. 58. Respectively, that’s the number of completions, passing attempts, and carries in the entire college career of Anthony Richardson as of the time of this initial writing. There’s not a lot of volume to reference when looking at Richardson’s game, but there’s enough quality contained within for many to serve up a 1st round (even 1st overall!) draft projection. Let’s look at where that comes from.
Date: 08.13.2022 | Update: 10.24.2022
Details: Anthony Richardson | QB | Florida #15
DOB: 05.22.2001 | 21 years old
H/W: 6’4” | 244 lbs
NFL Combine results (updated 03.06.2023):
40-yd dash: 4.43s (23.44 MPH top seed)
10-yd split: 1.53s
Vertical jump: 40.5″
Broad jump: 10′ 9″
NFL Draft Projection (updated 03.06.2023):
Early 1st Round Pick – Early in 2022 we saw a highly erratic, Jekyll and Hyde version of Anthony Richardson. One game he’ll show all the tools to be an excellent quarterback with immense athletic upside. The next game he’s the polar opposite, seeming to crumble under the pressure of big games and often looks as if he’s restraining himself. He looked like a first year starter. He improved over the season, though still didn’t produce elite throwing numbers, causing some to shun him (wrongly, in my opinion). While it didn’t really show anything unexpected, the NFL Combine may have pushed Richardson’s stock more than any other player. His incredible physical and athletic upside combined with the glimpses of outstanding quarterback play should now see him drafted extremely early, even potentially 1.01.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Projection – 1QB (updated 03.06.2023):
Late 1st Round Pick – Running quarterbacks are a cheat code in fantasy. Richardson is as close to the Konami Mode as any other draft prospect given his elite tools. With the NFL Combine (rightly) pushing him into early 1st round NFL Draft consideration, savvy players may want to take a shot on the elite fantasy upshot potential in the middle or end of the 1st round.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Projection – Superflex/2QB (updated 03.06.2023):
Early 1st Round Pick – Richardson could vie for an extremely high pick in SF/2QB given his skillset through the air and on the ground. In the right circumstances, he could go as high as first or second overall. Even if his inexperience and lack of elite throwing numbers scares your league-mates, he won’t fall past the middle of the 1st Round.
Richardson is incredibly early into his career, and often played young during the ’21 season. In limited action, Richardson made a handful of pretty silly mistakes, especially when put under pressure. It’s absolutely worth noting that these mistakes are typically solved with experience, which he’ll get plenty of this next year.
On the surface, Richardson has all the physical gifts a coach could want in a quarterback: he’s extremely well-built, got a cannon for an arm, good accuracy to all levels of the field, great hip torque, solid processing speed, 4.4 speed, smooth athlete, and excellent quick-twitch ability.
I came away very impressed with Anthony Richardson. Not as an athlete, and not because of the (incredible) surface-level qualities, but because he showed glimpses of genuine NFL-caliber quarterback in so few snaps, and somehow displayed significant improvement in the Florida Spring Game.
What struck me the most was the nuanced quarterbacking traits which showed up during his limited play in ’21: getting to his fourth read, pinning linebackers with his eyes to hold open throwing lanes, putting appropriate touch on throws, layering the ball, placement where only his receiver can reach it, and the ability to get absolutely blasted and still drop a dime 40 yards downfield.
While I was impressed with his 2021 season, consider me awe-struck at the totally different – somehow improved – player that showed up in the Spring Game. Richardson’s overall mechanics had improved significantly. He was poised, clinically precise, smart with the football…he looked like a men-among-boys. It’s only a Spring Game, but boy did he look sharp.
Right now it’s hard, if not impossible, to confidently predict what will happen for Richardson. He’s going into the year as the unquestioned starter for Florida, and should eclipse his existing numbers in just a few games. How he plays, specifically seeing if he can maintain the little things, will be telling for his draft stock.
While a few mistakes could suggest he’s not ready for the big leagues, only a couple highlight reel plays could chalk him into 1st overall consideration. In either case, he may be the hottest name to watch at quarterback this year.
Personally, I want to see more of the Spring Game; continued improvement to his field vision, and better control to limit the mistakes. He processes very well already, but I’d love to see it get faster. And if he can continue to clean up some of the mechanical issues he showed, there might not be a limit for him.
2022 has been an up-and-down season for Richardson, to put it mildly. Utah gave us a nearly identical view of what we saw in the Spring Game. Then, out of nowhere, he looked lost against Kentucky and USF. If that weren’t confusing enough, he had a great game on the ground and through the air against Tennessee.
Since then, it seems his work has been dialed back a bit, taking some of the pressure off of him. This may be the best developmental move available for Richardson at this time, considering – to me – it seemed like the pressure of the lights was just too much for him in the moment.
I also noticed at times, especially during Kentucky and USF, that he seemed to be restraining himself a bit, both through the air and on the ground. His timing seemed off, and it seemed as if he would in a different head-space. Consequently, he played terrible.
There will be a lot of people who will only look at the stats and write Richardson off as a “runner only”, suggesting he lacks necessary quarterback skills, or even suggest he’s a bust. Having watched a lot of him, I vehemently disagree. I still see many, many flashes of excellent passing traits that would put him ahead of most guys his age developmentally. Unfortunately, they’re just flashes, and the inconsistency has been destructive.
I’m of the opinion that he should return to school for one more year. Whether that be with Florida or another school would depend on his trust in Head Coach Billy Napier. If he feels Napier or the scheme is somehow holding him back, a transfer may allow him to flourish.
I’m still a believer. I’ve seen enough of the quality quarterback play to believe he will be a player worthy of early first round consideration. However, in order to get there he has to build back his confidence, learn to be comfortable playing under a spotlight (and microscope), find his groove and play more consistent.
With the record setting NFL Combine results now in the books, the football world has re-lit the Anthony Richardson fire, now in discussion for 1st overall draft pick.
Did the Combine show anything we didn’t already know though?…not really. Everyone knew AR is an athletic freak. His throws were as expected based on his college play; elite arm talent with generally good ball placement, and the occasional misfire.
Despite the roller coaster ride of AR’s consensus ranking according to “draft experts”, I have always held that AR is a quality quarterback first with elite athletic ability second, worthy of a premium draft pick. In fact, my only regret throughout this process has been updating my notes based on what the general consensus of the “draft experts” has suggested.
Moving forward, I’ll do my best to keep trust in my eyes and put less stock into the so-called “draft experts”…regardless of how my thoughts may differ.
Richardson’s natural gifts are tremendous. Most notable, he’s got a monster arm. He’s shown it off a few times in various camp situations; recently at the Manning Passing Academy where he fired off a ~73 yard throw; or previously at The Opening Finals in 2019 where he threw 68.5 yards. It was here that Stroud threw for 65 yards, Van Dyke for 60, and Bryce Young for 59 yards.
Richardson shows it in game situations as well, though his arm talent extends beyond just deep throws. Take our first clip against LSU. It’s into the 4th quarter and Florida needs a score to tie it up. Getting into a 3rd and 10 isn’t going to make that easier, unless – down and distance be damned – you can make throws like this.
This throw travels at least 47 yards in the air on a frozen rope. While this doesn’t look completely effortless to Richardson, it’s clear nonetheless that this throw is more of the standard variety than it would be for nearly anyone else, and there’s loads more available if needed.
In the above clip, we’re able to see a mechanical issue which he struggles with; his long-winding throwing motion. This is one of the issues I saw with his mechanics during 2021, along with inconsistent footwork.
While an expansive wind-up isn’t going to make or break a career (Byron “Windmill” Leftwich), it can give defenses more time to slap it away or impact tight-window throws.
In the same LSU game, he misses a throw due to the added time from his footwork and wind-up. Richardson sets up the play perfectly with an excellent fake, which draws the corner down to the flat, opening an 8 yard window up the sideline.
After the pump-fake, Richardson’s feet get too wide and he has to reset with an added step. The unnecessary extra step, coupled with his long wind-up, caused this throw to be just late enough for a defender to sneak their hand in.
These issues with his mechanics don’t worry me too much considering his age. It’s normal and expected that a young quarterback struggles to maintain a consistent platform, and the wind-up is fixable with coaching and practice.
The issues which do concern me regularly spring up when Richardson is under pressure. His field vision gets significantly restricted. He wants to make a play, refusing to play it safe – live for another down – and ends up making some very boneheaded decisions.
Another one from LSU, this ends up being the last play of the game. With Florida down seven, over 2 minutes to go, Florida nearing half-field with no issues putting up points in Death Valley; Richardson doesn’t have to make a play here, he just has to make it to another down.
Pressure leaks in from all over the line, preventing Richardson from setting a solid platform. Instead, while falling back, he tries to heave this 40+ yards across his body. Needless to say, it’s an easy interception, sealing the game.
It’s a consistent issue for Richardson; pressure causes chaos. The only way to improve is with experience, so this will definitely be the biggest thing I’m watching for this year.
When given a clean pocket, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Richardson was able to clear through his progressions quickly. It wasn’t a skill shown consistently, but it did show up a couple times.
I actually noted two plays where he quickly progressed to his fourth read, and – on the other end of the spectrum – two plays where he either stared down his first read or went with a one-read-then-run approach. So he’s shown the ability, he just needs to do it more consistently.
Here’s one against Georgia where he gets a clean pocket. He spots the linebacker blitz immediately off the snap, and appropriately looks to the vacated area first. The tight end is running a quick hitch into the vacated area, but Richardson moves off it pretty quick.
Next, he swings his eyes wide to the cornerback at the bottom of the screen. The corner is lurking over the running back swinging out to the flat, so that’s a no-go.
Next, the trio of receivers at the top of the screen. It looks like – from inside-to-out – the tight end heads to the flat at the top of the screen; the slot receiver runs a dig (hi-lo with the hitch) that is covered by the safety; and finally, the wide out gets open on a curl and gets the ball.
After moving off the hitch, swing, and dig, he spots his curl route settling down nicely in between zones. The throw is layered wonderfully, just high enough to get over the leaping backer but hits the receiver square on the numbers.
One note I mentioned during the play above was how Richardson looked to the area vacated by the blitz first…well that wasn’t always the case. This presents another area where he can look to improve.
Earlier in the Georgia game, Georgia feigns a boundary-side nickel blitz, but sends pressure off the field-side edge. Richardson spots it immediately after the snap, but – seemingly pre-determined – looks to his left, opposite the blitz.
Pre-snap; who called this pass protection? Fired. No hot route? Fired.
But seriously, a more seasoned quarterback may have seen this as an opportunity. With only three yards left to pick up the first down, the blitz vacates precious space in the middle of the field. There’s a hole in coverage as big as the SEC logo and Richardson had a receiver heading straight to it.
The receiver – I think Xzavier Henderson (RS Freshman) – didn’t help much. Inexperience may have played a role here too, but an adjustment to the route due to the blitz would have been appropriate. It could have given Richardson an immediate outlet had they been on the same page.
While there are a few things to watch for improvement from Richardson next year, it’s worth noting that he showed a number of traits not often seen by players his age.
Our next clip, we head back to the LSU game where Florida is just a few yards from a much needed score. Florida draws up a great play here to take advantage of Richardson’s legs and LSUs aggressiveness.
The play is an RPO where Richardson can either run power, or throw the slant. He does an excellent job off the snap, eyeing the backers which forces them to fill and scrape toward the threat of the run.
As soon as he sees the backers step up, Richardson hits the top of his drop, redirects his feet, and fires the ball right into the gut of the receiver running the slant.
Great understanding of the play, great job reading the defense, great eye manipulation to draw the backers up, great footwork and timing, and a great throw to finish it off.
The reason a play like this works so well is largely due to the threat of Richardson running. With his size (6’4″ 230+ lbs) and legitimate 4.4 speed, he’s a significant threat to the defense on the ground.
Next up we’ll take a look at a couple nice runs. Our first video shows the strength and power of Richardson. He ends up getting seven yards on the play, six of them come after contact.
Florida is running a read-option, the defensive end stays home and keeps his eyes on the quarterback the whole way. This tells me that, unless this was a designed quarterback run, Richardson read this wrong and should have handed this off.
In any case, Richardson gets around the edge defender who dives at his feet. He lowers his shoulder into the corner – knocking him on the turf – and continues to carry his weight and momentum forward, bouncing off a linebacker and finally getting covered by the safety.
Speed to the edge, the ability to turn the corner at speed, and the bulk and strength to chug through defenders. Nice run here – even if it was a poor read on the option.
It’s not just his size and power, he’s got great vision and more than enough wiggle. Let’s take a look at one more from the Georgia game.
On this play, the left tackle – Richard Gouraige (#76) – pulls all the way down to trap and seal Georgia’s phenomenal edge defender Nolan Smith (#4). The right tackle and guard get good angles and push thanks to the design of the fake, opening a slim lane for Richardson to sneak through.
Not only does Richardson get through the lane with great burst, he shows some wiggle as he sidesteps Lewis Cine – 1st round pick in the NFL Draft – and keeps chugging for extra yards.
And just in case you aren’t impressed yet, check out this run where Richardson not only wrecks the defender trying to make the tackle, but then gets up to 21 miles-per-hour on his way to the endzone. Not bad for 230+ lbs.
#CFB‘s Top 5 Max Speeds from Ball Carriers: Week 2— Recruiting Analytics (@RAanalytics) September 14, 2021
1️⃣ UM RB @blake_corum, 22.1 MPH
2️⃣ UGA TE @brockbowers17, 21.9 MPH
3️⃣ ND RB @chris_tyree4, 21.8 MPH
4️⃣ UF QB @GVOaant, 21.0 MPH
5️⃣ MSU WR @JaydenReed5, 20.9 MPH#myRAmaxspeed pic.twitter.com/MIJWoZEJDF
At the time of this writing, I feel I’ve watched two completely different and distinct versions of Anthony Richardson. There’s the version from the ’21 CFB season, who looked like a solid prospect, extremely fun to watch on Saturdays, with big tools and a handful of areas in need of refinement…
…and then there’s the version from the ’22 Florida Spring Game, who looked like a smart, poised, veteran quarterback playing savvy football, carving up a peewee defense.
The mechanics were completely different, and significantly better. According to Denny Thompson, his private QB trainer, they were just scratching the surface of a complete mechanical overhaul.
Here’s one of the first throws, only being 30% through his mechanical overhaul. Richardson is a completely different quarterback.
Mechanically, he hits the top of his drop and you can see his footwork is already significantly improved. He maintains an extremely solid base, plants his feet firmly, and drives through the throw — one of his mechanical flaws not mentioned previously.
Additionally, check out the poise under pressure. The right side of the pocket starts closing in immediately. His first step from the top is up – into the pocket – and slightly to his left, creating space from the pressure…all while maintaining a solid platform. Outstanding subtle pocket navigation.
The wind-up is gone as well. It’s hard to see in this video, but his release was lightning quick throughout the game thanks to consistently taking the ball straight back.
Oh, and did I mention this throw is perfectly on point to a crossing receiver?
I can’t describe enough how impressed I was with the difference I saw…and to only be 30% into the process? Color me impressed.
Moving further into the Spring Game, Richardson is going to take a shot up the sideline here.
This clip is pretty simple, no need to cut up or edit it – just watch Richardson’s eyes during the drop. Perfect job locking down the safety in the deep middle with his eyes.
As a whole, this play is so much more though. Richardson gets a good pre-snap read, sees the inside shade press man on top of the screen and knows he’s got a one-on-one. He knows exactly where he’s going before he takes the snap, and knows he’s got to pin the safety to give his receiver a shot.
Once again the footwork is solid, the mechanics are improved, the release is quick, the timing is impeccable, and the presence in the pocket as a defender is at his feet…*chefs kiss*.
I fully acknowledge it wasn’t even one full game and the defensive pressure packages were limited…but man-oh-man. If he continues to look like this during the upcoming season, I’m not just buying Anthony Richardson – I’m all in.
Which quarterback is going first in 2023? Drop a comment in the comment box below to let us know your thoughts!
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That guy who wraps up the #1 seed by week 13, dominates the points scored column, and gets blown out by the #8 seed in the first round of playoffs…annually. That’s Ben.
He’s also the guy who constructs a trade calculator for fun, and builds a fantasy football website when he wants to share his thoughts with the world.
As a Vikings fan and a poor golfer, Ben lives in a perpetual state of frustration. In his fun-time he’s a husband and proud father of two.