2023 NFL Draft Prospect Watch: Anthony Richardson, Quarterback, Florida Gators

Sep 3, 2022; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) against the Utah Utes prior to the game at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2022; Gainesville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) against the Utah Utes prior to the game at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Anthony Richardson is one of the better QB prospects coming into the 2023 NFL Draft. He is also a very inconsistent QB. While he may end up being a solid starter in the NFL, there are a lot of questions about his play that will have to be answered before draft day. Can the Florida signal-caller overcome his inconsistent play? 

Anthony Richardson was a three-star recruit coming out of high school. He chose to stay near his home and play at the University of Florida. While his college career is not completely done yet (and he may stay in college another year+Florida State game and bowl game), his three years in Florida were interesting, to say the least.

His first year at the school started normally. He was a freshman QB and barely played in his first season. His second season was where things got interesting. For the majority of the season, he barely played behind Emory Jones.

Richardson wouldn’t come in for the majority of plays due to Florida’s coach at the time (Dan Mullen) thinking that Jones was a better thrower, but Richardson would come in on designed rushing plays.

He ended up being the QB for parts of the LSU, Georgia, and Florida State games due to Jones’ poor play. Many fans in the fanbase wanted Richardson to start in the bowl game, but he didn’t.

In the offseason, It was clear that Richardson was the better QB and Jones ended up transferring to Arizona State. Richardson started off the 2022 season with a good performance against Utah. A lot of people, including myself, thought Richardson was starting up his Heisman candidacy.

Next week’s game against Kentucky dispelled that notion, as he threw two interceptions. He would do the same next week against USF. The game against Tennessee the following week displayed the promising narrative around Richardson.

Richardson had two touchdowns and 453 yards against Tennessee. Additionally, he tossed two interceptions. This stat-line shows how shaky Richardson played this year. Just very inconsistent. Anthony Richardson has looked great at times while looking horrible at other times. He was so inconsistent this year that the Gators were better off running the ball than throwing, though Richardson can scramble pretty well.

The sophomore does have one year of college eligibility and it would probably serve him right to wait and not declare for the 2023 NFL Draft. While C.J Stroud, Bryce Young, Hendon Hooker, and others may be picked before Richardson, it doesn’t really serve him well to wait another year, because Caleb Williams and Drake Maye will be in the wings waiting next season (assuming they both declare for the draft next season)

Main Positive: Explosiveness 

One skill that Richardson has in his favor is that he is a dual-threat QB. When he is in the pocket, you certainly have to respect his ability to run the ball. Additionally, he seems to have a good arm. Overall his main positive is that he is an explosive player with as much versatility as anyone in the 2023 NFL Draft class.

Main Negative: Decision-making 

Decision-making is a clear weakness for Richardson and improving that skill will be a point of emphasis going forward. The QB certainly has his advantages in his ability to be a dual-threat QB. I think a lot of his success in the NFL will come down to how high a team drafts him.

Anthony Richardson needs to work on his decision-making and shouldn’t start on day 1. If he is drafted midway through the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, and is able to take his time to develop, I think he will have a chance to be a solid QB one day.

2023 NFL Draft Pick Projection: 37-51 (Round 2)

It would serve him better to play another year in college, as he needs to work on his skills a bit more. If he is to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft, I would say he goes midway through the second round. He will probably be around the fifth or sixth QB taken in this draft.

Look for a team that doesn’t have a first-round pick to take a chance on Richardson in the second round. New Orleans would be a good fit for him, considering they could basically red-shirt him next year as they are basically over the cap (by a lot of money) and won’t really be able to field a competitive roster next season anyways.