Anthony Richardson’s pro day drew a number of eyeballs, not just from media but also several NFL teams. Florida, a program that only managed a 6-7 record last year, was one of the most well-attended pro days on the college circuit. The Gators have a number of interesting prospects, but Richardson is the headliner and is a dark horse candidate to go No. 1 overall.
These are not definitive affairs. Many remember Zach Wilson’s remarkable pro day performance, along with the historically great performances that Alex Smith and Jay Cutler put together, but neither are they meaningless. Teddy Bridgewater left some question marks about his arm strength after his pro day, and Johnny Manziel’s bizarre pro day ended up mirroring his career.
On top of that, quarterbacks who were produced from college environments that did a poor job maximizing their skill set, like Justin Herbert, really took advantage of the pro day environment to cement themselves as worthy of high picks. Those pro day performances gave us more information than even a full season of college play.
With all of that in mind, Richardson’s pro day gave us plenty to chew on.
Raiders and Panthers Met With Anthony Richardson, Seahawks, and Colts Could Show Interest
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Las Vegas and Carolina both met with Richardson the night prior, and he had dinner with the Raiders. Carolina holds the first overall pick in the draft, while Las Vegas holds the seventh pick.
Seattle’s Pete Carroll was seen talking to Richardson casually prior to his workouts, and the Falcons were present as well. The Colts brought a few personnel executives, including chief personnel executive Morocco Brown, who could be spotted on the NFL+ broadcast. In addition, the Colts have scheduled a visit with Richardson, along with the Panthers, Titans, Falcons, Ravens, and Raiders, according to Jordan Schultz of the Score.
The Panthers were perhaps one of the most present teams, not just bringing head coach Frank Reich but also quarterbacks coach Josh McCown and senior assistant Jim Caldwell. The Seahawks, in addition to Carroll, brought general manager John Schneider.
Nearly every team was present at Florida’s Pro Day, and not all are necessarily in the market for a quarterback. Florida’s prospects include G O’Cyrus Torrence, DT Gervon Dexter, EDGE Brenton Cox Jr., safeties Trey Dean III and Rashad Torrence II, LB Ventrell Miller, WR Justin Shorter, and OT Richard Gouraige.
That means that the Cleveland Browns and the New Orleans Saints, also in attendance, won’t likely signal interest in a quarterback. But it’s still worth noting that teams without long-term solutions at the position might be interested.
A few attendees, including the Saints, Titans, Rams, and Falcons, had meetings with Torrence prior to Florida’s Pro Day.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah mentioned that the Titans were a team “to keep an eye on” when it came to Richardson and mentioned a few other teams that could “enter the fray,” including the Minnesota Vikings, who pick 23rd in the draft. NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks added the Detroit Lions to the list, adding that they could use their second first-round pick on a quarterback like Richardson.
Richardson Answered Some Questions at His Pro Day, Left More Unanswered
With significant questions about Richardson’s production profile, he needed to put together a solid showing. As the analysts airing the pro day mentioned, the business is not about past production but projecting future performance. Richardson agreed.
“I was very inconsistent throughout the season,” Richardson volunteered in an interview following his pro day. He knows it’s something he needs to work on, adding, “inconsistency will not work at the next level.”
One of the more intriguing elements of the Richardson evaluation is the fact that he demonstrated high-level footwork and mechanics in college despite his relative lack of throwing experience and seemingly raw profile. There’s room for improvement with both, but he’s further along than many one-year starters at the position.
Richardson’s pro day featured generally good anticipation on throws, as would be expected with no coverage and no pass rush, but he demonstrated inconsistency nevertheless.
Some excellent leading throws over the intermediate and deep areas of the field were counterbalanced by a few inaccurate throws — many of which hit the receivers in their hands but were more difficult catches than they needed to be, leading to at least two drops captured by the broadcast footage and one unnecessary highlight catch thrown high on an intermediate out.
That said, Richardson’s throwing was better than it was at the NFL Combine, something that he can count on to improve his overall résumé as he heads into the final phase of the draft season with team visits coming up.
The fireworks were there at Richardson’s pro day. Not only did he finish the throwing session with phenomenal deep throws that showed off his arm strength and potential for deep accuracy, but Richardson also warmed up by throwing 25 and 30-yard passes while seated on the ground.
Anthony Richardson casually throwing 25-yard lobs from the ground…
The one prior may have cleared 30 yards pic.twitter.com/d2q1JtnIvU
— Zach Cohen (@ZachCohenFB) March 30, 2023
He was able to fling the ball 50 yards off of his back foot while “on the run” from the pocket against a simulation of pressure. That natural throwing is what makes him appealing to teams. A lot of quarterbacking involves solving problems, and Richardson demonstrated that he has more tools in his toolbox to solve them than many other players.
Interestingly, one of his highlights was a throw that hit the ceiling of the Florida practice facility, a virtual airplane hangar.
This was apparently on purpose. As Albert Breer of MMQB reported, Richardson said he saw Will Levis do the same and wanted to see “if he could put a hole through it.”
Richardson ended up rethrowing that route, a deep completion that led the receiver downfield, but it was a short preview of things to come. What might end up drawing the most praise on social media was his final throw of the session — a bomb 70 yards downfield while on the run on a bootleg concept, punctuated with a flip at the end.
Richardson’s pro day seemingly elevated his already sky-high stock, but it probably didn’t cement anything for anyone. There were throws he would have wanted to have back, and though he mentioned in his post-workout interview that chasing perfection was an impossible task, he also argued it was worthwhile.
“I know I’ll never be perfect, but I try to work towards perfection,” he said. There’s probably not a better way to describe Richardson’s draft evaluation and postseason draft preparation process.
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