Should the Panthers draft Anthony Richardson? Evaluating the Florida QB after pro day.
Published in Football
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With the first pick in the 2023 NFL draft, the Carolina Panthers will likely select one of four quarterbacks. Bryce Young (Alabama), C.J. Stroud (Ohio State) Anthony Richardson (Florida) and Will Levis (Kentucky) all have a case to be the top pick.
Over four weeks, The Charlotte Observer is breaking down the top four quarterback prospects, to analyze which of the four might be the best fit for the Panthers and new coach Frank Reich. We’ll unpack what each prospect does best, identify their ideal NFL scheme fits, and then project who they’ll become as professionals based on the shades of NFL quarterback play they already possess.
This process is based on film evaluations and conversations with scouts and evaluators around the league.
Here is our breakdown of Flordia redshirt sophomore Anthony Richardson.
What Richardson does best
Richardson is a complicated evaluation.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound prospect ran faster and jumped higher than any quarterback in NFL combine history. Add to that his 26 total touchdowns (17 passing, nine rushing), 3,203 total yards (654 rushing yards), and a jaw-dropping highlight reel, and it’s easy to crown Richardson as the next great quarterback prospect. But his tape is littered with inconsistencies, some of which are a byproduct of starting only 13 college games. Other concerns stem from an underwhelming Florida scheme and receiving core.
At his best, Richardson is a dual-threat quarterback with a powerful arm who is capable of making any throw or rushing for explosive gains. He’ll be an immediate NFL red zone threat thanks to his measurables. But his inconsistency between the 20s is perplexing.
Sometimes he’s a sniper. He’ll rip deep outs to the field from the opposite hash with ease. Some of his seam throws and outside-the-number vertical routes are NFL-ready. He throws those concepts with anticipation, powering his way through every throw. Finding examples of touch throws or high-arcing off-speed balls is rare. He has one pitch, and has been described as a thrower, not a passer.
However, Richardson is more of a natural quarterback than some Twitter narratives suggest. It’s clear he spends extensive time with a private quarterback coach and likely has been for years — which all these top quarterback prospects do. But he’s taking what he’s learning and directly applying it, a sign that he’s a quick study who is still learning how to take instruction and make it his own.
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