Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson announced Monday that he will be forgoing The Las Vegas Bowl in order to prepare for The 2023 NFL Draft. The move came as a surprise to some, with many anticipating he would return to school junior year. Richardson is one of the most intriguing prospects in The 2023 NFL Draft. Some would say he is clearly a first round pick based on traits alone, and others arguing he is nothing more than a day-2 project. While Richardson is certainly a tier under the likes of other quarterback prospects such as Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, or Kentucky’s Will Levis, he may just have the highest ceiling of any quarterback in his class, and I believe The Detroit Lions should take a swing on him.
Analyzing Anthony Richardson
Richardson finished his sophomore season at Florida with 2,549 yards through the air with 17 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He also added 654 yards on the ground and 9 rushing touchdowns. Richardson is a big bodied dual threat quarterback standing at 6’4” 232 lbs, with legit tools at the position. As Lions fans have watched quarterbacks like Justin Fields, Jalen Hurts, and Daniel Jones gash Detroit with their legs, it’s hard not to want a dual threat weapon for themselves. As The NFL heads towards a league dominated by quarterbacks who can improvise and away from the standard pocket passer, The Lions should certainly aim to get up to speed.
Richardson has only played one full season as a starter, and had major ups and downs. One of his best games may have been in week one, when he lit up the Pac-12 champions in Utah. Against an elite defense, Richardson rushed for 108 yards and 3 touchdowns, with 168 yards through the air. Not only does he have elite running ability, he also has a cannon for an arm. He posted 453 yards through the air in a loss against Tennessee, and another 400 yard passing game against Vanderbilt. Richardson’s statline fluctuated greatly throughout the year, including the last time we saw him take the field in college against rival Florida State. He finished with a porous 9 of 27 with three touchdowns, against a quality Seminole squad.
Richardson’s biggest draw is his upside. With his legs, he runs angry and can easily break tackles. The Florida quarterback will certainly shine at The NFL Combine, as I expect him to run in the 4.4’s. His ability to throw on the run is impressive as well, and he will excel in an RPO scheme. Richardson’s arm is just as intriguing as his legs, as there’s not an NFL throw he can’t make, and he goes through his progressions well.
The Florida quarterback is certainly not without his flaws. For starters, he is extremely inconsistent in the passing game. Richardson lacks the ability to go through his reads efficiently, often locking onto one target. His ability to read blitzes certainly does not help either, as he was one of the worst passing quarterbacks when under pressure in The SEC last year. The small sample size of only a single season as a starter certainly will make some GM’s hesitant to draft him as well.
Why The Detroit Lions Should Take A Shot On Richardson
The Detroit Lions are heading into the 2023 NFL Draft with two picks in the first round. The first pick via The Los Angeles Rams has the potential to be a top 5 pick. With this pick, the Lions could go a multitude of routes, including quarterback. With players such as Bryce Young or CJ Stroud potentially being on the board, The Lions could possibly go quarterback early. With the way Jared Goff has been playing recently, Detroit could stick with him for the 2023 season by restructuring his contract. In my opinion, with their first pick The Detroit Lions have the opportunity to grab a game changer on defense. Prospects such as defensive tackle Jalen Carter from Georgia or pass rusher Will Anderson from Alabama are can’t miss prospects at this point in the draft. Potentially taking a prospect like Jalen Carter to secure the interior of your defense, with the hope that Anthony Richardson falls to them with their next pick, would allow Detroit to get a game changer early and still take a quarterback in the first round.
Taking Richardson in the first round is key here. Detroit would have the Florida quarterback under contract for 4 seasons with a fifth year option. Richardson is a prospect who has remarkable talent, but will need time to refine his decision making and learn an NFL offense. Richardson will be able to sit behind a veteran like Jared Goff for potentially an entire season, similar to how Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes redshirted for a year behind Alex Smith. The Detroit Lions could go into 2024 with their quarterback of the future, and a dangerous offense alongside the likes of Jameson Williams and Amon-Ra St. Brown.
I’m sorry but this makes absolutely no sense, this same idea was floated last year Malik Willis. Supposedly a guy with such immense upside and a potential 1st round pick. Winds up being drafted in the 3rd round to the Titans and gets benched in favor of a journey man QB. Yeah, anyone pushing this narrative doesn’t know what they are talking about.