The Case for Anthony Richardson To Be the No. 1 Pick

Anthony Richardson has more bust potential than any other first-round quarterback. But he also has the highest ceiling. The risk is worth it.

The NFL draft is more about finding the player that gives you the best advantage in the future than it is to find today’s best player. And with that framework, Anthony Richardson has a clear advantage over the other quarterbacks.

Anthony Richardson Is the Highest-Ceiling Quarterback in the Draft

He’s a good deal more developed as a passer than other high-upside quarterbacks that needed refinement, and players like Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Jalen Hurts, and Patrick Mahomes turned that upside into MVP-quality seasons.

General managers are aware that finding the safe pick isn’t actually all that safe, and swinging for the fences to find upside is where some of the best advantages can be found. Richardson is rough around the edges, but any staff worth its salt can polish those edges and uncover the next top quarterback in the NFL.

MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Quarterback Class

Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus captured the high-risk nature of a potential Richardson pick. He said, “Richardson is the ultimate wild card in this class. He could have the lowest floor of the big four quarterbacks, but he also has the highest ceiling.”

Sikkema added, “He’s an unmatched dual-threat player who is going to be one of the best athletes on the field from Day 1 in the NFL. He also has incredible arm strength to boot.”

Anthony Richardson Compares Himself to Cam Newton and Lamar Jackson

Richardson has ideal size and remarkable agility and acceleration to complement it. It’s not debatable that Richardson is the most athletic quarterback in the draft, and he puts the rest of the field behind him with distance to spare. It has been so integrated into his game that he called himself “Cam Jackson” in 11th grade after Cam Newton and Lamar Jackson.

When asked who he modeled himself after, he said, “Growing up, it was always Cam Newton for me. But then when I got to high school, just seeing how dynamic Lamar was, I tried to implement both of those guys in my life.” Richardson continued, “I started calling myself Cam Jackson in 11th grade, just trying to make big plays. Just Cam Newton and Lamar Jackson.”

He needs to be more consistent, and his low completion percentage is an indication that he can’t always thread the right needles or hit his receivers with accuracy — though he also suffered from receiver drops, too.

And, of course, there are moments when the easiest thrower in the draft hits a target with pinpoint accuracy for a touchdown. NFL general managers are more than happy to chase that moment.

Making the Case for Other Quarterbacks

Who else could be the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft? We’ve made a case for each of the top quarterbacks and why it might make sense for an NFL team to venture down their chosen path.

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