Roll The Dice
By: Robert Craft
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
It’s easy to talk a General Manager into drafting Anthony Richardson, easy to see that size, speed, strength and weigh the undeniable singularity of his physical abilities and not get intoxicated at what could be.
It’s easy to turn on tape and convince yourself that with the right coaching and the right system, there’s no way this man — this freakish talent who’s all of 20 years old — won’t grow into a weapon that’ll scare the living hell out of NFL defensive coordinators for an awfully long time.
In Richardson’s case, he has about everything: He can make every throw. He can run through an entire defense. There are no limitations on where he can put the football, or what he can do when he tucks it away and scampers from the pocket.
Richardson’s far from a polished prospect, arriving on the doorstep of this spring’s draft with serious questions about whether he can win at the pro level from the pocket (a must in today’s league).
Remember, the Combine isn’t real football. The pro day, either. They are scripted, controlled, routes-on-air. It happens almost every spring, a quarterback catapulting up the draft boards largely because of what could be, not necessarily because of their previous fall.
Potential can be expensive, even if it doesn’t work out.
Who has been more physically gifted than him? Andrew Luck? Richardson has a more gifted arm and is much faster. Cam Newton is taller, but Anthony is much faster and with a more dynamic arm. Josh Allen is bigger, but their arms are similar, and Josh is not even close to as fast.
Physically, Richardson has the traits of becoming a game-changing weapon, a player who defenses fear, a quarterback who can lift a mediocre supporting cast and give you a chance every Sunday.
His passing numbers weren’t tremendous for a first-round quarterback prospect: 17 touchdowns, nine interceptions, a worrisome 53.8 completion percentage (he did add nine rushing touchdowns).
But he cut his turnovers down over the second half of the season — his TD-to-interception ratio was 12-to-2 over his final six starts. That shows he grew increasingly comfortable in the pocket and his decision-making reflected that.
Richardson’s receivers dropped a large number of catchable balls. If you really dig into the film, Richardson has more downfield accuracy than what’s assumed.
He certainly must tighten up his mechanics, his footwork, and his presence in the pocket, but it’s not as if there aren’t plenty of encouraging signs he can get better from behind center.
And again, Richardson’s only 20 years old. This is important. He has so much growth ahead of him. One can only wonder what he would’ve done with another year at Florida, how many of the draft concerns he could have eased.
It’s officially draft week, and the Colts — picking fourth — need a quarterback. Most of the speculation has come down to two passers: Florida’s Richardson and Kentucky’s Will Levis.
But a recent curveball is gaining steam: what if Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud makes it past the Texans at No. 2? It would change the discussion, widening the Colts’ debate from two QBs to three.
Elite quarterbacks dominate the NFL and will for the foreseeable future. Mahomes. Allen. Burrow, Herbert, Hurts. Jackson.
Mediocre isn’t going to cut it. Teams need a playmaker if they want a winning chance, and it’s time to gamble.
Bet on your coach and see if you can climb back into the mix. It’ll take time to mature, but it’s a High Risk-High Reward wager. High rollers welcome!