Falcons Draft Profile Anthony Richardson: strengths, weaknesses, highlights, prediction
Strengths and weaknesses
Anthony Richardson is a freakish combination of size, speed, arm strength, power, and acceleration at the most important position in sports. He is remarkable. He can run past you or run through you, then on the next play he can launch a throw 70 yards down the field (more on that later). In my opinion, as a whole, he is the freakiest quarterback ever. Michael Vick and Lamar Jackson were scary fast, but they were not built to run through people like AR is. Cam Newton has the power but AR would run laps around him. We have never seen this type of player at the quarterback position. If you want the closest comparison, it is Josh Allen. However, Richardson is a few pounds heavier and ran the forty in .33 fewer seconds.
When watching him on the football field, you can see his pure talent. He made some sensational throws at Florida that will force anyone to rewind and watch a dozen times. He can uncork deep passes that land right in the breadbasket. There were flashes last season of a player who could turn into an unstoppable force. He also has a quick-fire arm and throws perfect spirals with ease.
Something else he deserves praise for was his ability to play simplistic or chaotic. Florida ran some RPOs with him where he didn't try to do too much, he would just make his read and execute. And then of course, he had times where he could unleash himself.
Anthony Richardson has a defiance to take sacks. He knows how to keep himself up long enough to get rid of the ball. Whether it was quick pressure or pressure in his own endzone, he would not go down to the ground. In addition to that, he isn't afraid to throw the ball away on routine plays and live another down. Although all of that is relatively minor, it is fewer things you have to teach.
And then he has the enate ability to keep his eyes up when he dances around the backfield. Many young quarterbacks will drop their eyes when they see pressure, but this young QB keeps all avenues open.
After reading his strengths, you might be wondering why he isn't the unquestioned first-overall pick, but there are many reasons why he won't be. First of all, he only has one year of being the full time starter at QB and he had the statistics of an undraftable player. As a Junior at Florida in 2022, he played 12 games, completed just 53.8% of his passes, threw for 2,549 yards, 17 touchdowns, and nine interceptions
Before 2022, Richardson had only played in ten games, throwing just 66 passes. His experience is as limited as it gets, unlike a certain Falcons quarterback.
Desmond Ridder at Cincinnati
Anthony Richardson at Florida
28 (.56 per game)
15 (.68 per game)
The stats are completely one-sided. Drafting a quarterback who has played in only 22 games in the first round—potentially the top ten—is a scary and risky proposition.
There are also concerns when you watch him on the field. His technique is simply a mess. His footwork is that of a QB who thinks his arm is the fix to everything and it is complacent. He needs to get his footwork stable to find any consistency in the NFL.
He flies through his progressions way too quickly and doesn't show the ability to anticipate receivers getting open. It was a common occurrence to see him launch a ball to a covered receiver despite there being a wide-open receiver who he already moved on from in his progressions.
Richardson struggled to identify the subtle hints of his receivers as he would throw the ball in the opposite direction of his receiver's improvisation. This could have been due to a lack of chemistry but, at the very least, part of it is his fault.
His play-action fakes are rushed and/or lazy. He did a poor job of selling the handoffs as he just took the impact of a good fake for granted. However, that should be easily correctable.
And finally, there were times, when he would flutter passes to covered receivers. They usually weren't picked off but the throws just looked like half-throwaway, half-hopeful-completion. While this likely isn't the case, it gave the impression that he didn't value every down.
Anthony Richardson is a complete freak at the quarterback position. He can do anything he wants out on the gridiron and while he isn't quite as bad as everyone is making him out to be, he has a lot of things he must fix in the NFL. If he doesn't end up landing with a team that excels in developing quarterbacks and who can afford to be patient with him, then his pro career will be doomed.
If he is thrown out on the field early, then he needs to be given a simple playbook that will cover up his current deficiencies as a dropback passes For example, they should call a lot of RPOs, bootlegs, read options, and quarterback runs so that he isn't dropping back with his messy footwork.
Richardson's floor and ceiling are in totally different zip codes. I am a huge fan of his but there is no denying the reasons for others not being. As much as I would like to give him a higher grade, I just can't with the blatant concerns he has.