Every year come draft time there are prospects that divide scouts and analysts. Never has that been more apt than this year with Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. We reported this dichotomy back when Richardson first announced his intentions in December, and nearly four months later, teams are still torn.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler went on NFL on ESPN to discuss first-round quarterbacks and the conversation eventually fell to Richardson. Fowler reported that he’s never seen “a bigger variance leaguewide on a feeling about a” quarterback, saying that while some talent evaluators have him as a first-round talent, others (sometimes on the same team) aren’t thinking to look for him until the fourth round.
Fowler believes that Richardson is a bit of a project who will need to find a situation in the NFL where he can sit for a year and develop but notes an NFL executive who calls Richardson a combination of Cam Newton and Justin Fields. Quoting NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 asserts that some teams have Richardson as the second-best quarterback on the board. I’ve personally seen a mock draft by Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports that has the Bears trading Fields and taking Richardson at No. 1 overall.
All this to reiterate sentiments from our breakdown of his initial draft announcement. Teams are evaluating Richardson off of 13 games of film of the one-year starter in Gainesville. That single season saw him complete only 54.2% of his passes for 2,631 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. He added 680 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 115 rush attempts. He went 6-7 as a starter for the Gators. The college stats aren’t great, but there’s so little to work with that scouts are still betting on the potential he held as a four-star recruit coming out of high school.
Last year, experts predicted as many as four quarterbacks would be taken in the first round. Only Kenny Pickett actually heard his name on Day 1 of the draft. Evaluators are equally bullheaded this year on quarterbacks going early and often, but with nearly two months until Draft Day, there is still much that we don’t know.
Here are a few other quick notes on upcoming prospects:
- Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer has long been thought of as the 2023 NFL Draft’s best prospect at the position. Well, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, one tight end made a strong case for himself at the Senior Bowl. Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave made a lasting impression on scouts at the all-star event. Musgrave measured at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds and impressed with his physicality, speed, route-running, and hands. Breer posits that Musgrave did enough to earn the top spot on position rankings.
- Another prospect who may be higher than initially thought is Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright. The O-lineman also attended the Senior Bowl with many believing that he had a lot that he still needed to prove. According to Matt Miller of ESPN, Wright may have already done enough. Miller claims Wright is a top-32 prospect and finds it hard to believe that he’ll slip past the first round. The Volunteers didn’t expect to keep the consensus five-star out of West Virginia for all four years and the fact that they did had many thinking Wright is not a first-round talent. An impressive performance at the Senior Bowl and a first-team All-SEC selection in 2022 should prove otherwise as Wright continues to work towards the goal of hearing his name called on the first night of the draft.
9 comments on “NFL Draft Rumors: Richardson, TEs, Wright”
*Every year there’s a QB that is completely unpolished that should be a 5th round pick that ends up going in the 1st for some reason.
The “experts” are terrible at predicting anything when it comes to QBs – as they tend to think physical traits/raw athleticism can be turned into NFL starter talent just by spending some time sitting on an NFL bench or in the QB room. The league is littered with such “projects”. Go ahead and take that project in the third or fourth round, but 1st and 2nd round picks are the basis for building the team’s core and thus shouldn’t be wasted on a lark.
They aren’t necessarily wrong. It’s just that the teams that end up taking these projects on are usually the ones who are drafting early for a reason.
I think Richardson is being over mocked right now. As noted what happened with the QB class last year.
Let’s not make this personal.
The linked mock from Trapasso has the Colts trading for the overall #1 pick and taking Richardson, not the scenario of the Bears trading Fields as you discussed above.
I heard an interview with an anonymous GM the other day who said that until a team has a private workout with a QB, (not the Combine or college pro days), any rumor posted by any of these “experts” that claims a team is or isn’t going to draft a certain player, is complete nonsense.
Richardson is going to be a bust. Best case scenario is he needs at least one year behind a veteran and with the draft capital that is going to be invested (and the teams that need a QB), no team is going to give that to him.
Teams really don’t learn from their (and other team’s) mistakes though. Every year there is at least one player from UF that flies up draft boards because of “their outstanding physical talents” but are raw players who are not close to having the technical skills needed to be good players in the NFL.
Scout team QB at best