While many cannot agree on where Anthony Richardson should land in the 2023 NFL Draft, everyone can agree on one thing. Richardson is an athletic marvel, a freak of nature.
If you didn’t know it after the performance for the ages he put together at the NFL Scouting Combine, you definitely knew it by the end of his Florida pro day, when he performed a perfect backflip for scouts after dropping their jaws moments before with a 70-yard bomb.
Yes, Richardson, who had just one full season as a starter in college, is raw. But even those who feel he should have stayed another year at college or is too much of a risk to select in the top 10 picks of the first round, can definitively say that he is an NFL Draft prospect with immense potential.
It’s that potential that has seen the Florida product skyrocket up teams’ draft boards.
Richardson, who is saying all the right things about his work ethic and determination to be great, just needs to land in the right spot.
But what is the right spot for the blazing fast, linebacker-sized signal-caller with a rocket arm?
Well for starters, it needs to be a team with an incumbent at the quarterback position, as anyone who thinks Richardson, who completed just 53.8 percent of his passes in 2022, is ready to be a day-one starter is kidding themselves.
He needs time to develop into the top-tier starter he could one day become.
The Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks immediately come to mind as potential destinations. Would the New England Patriots, perhaps uncertain with the future of Mac Jones, take a chance on the Gators star?
Would the Baltimore Ravens, embroiled in a contract saga with Lamar Jackson, look for his replacement sooner than people think?
Or could another dark-horse team swoop in and take Richardson?
That’s what we’ll discuss here.
Without further ado, here are four teams that must take a chance on Richardson in the NFL Draft.
NFL Draft: Teams That Must Take Chance On Anthony Richardson
4. Washington Commanders
The Commanders bowed out of the Lamar Jackson sweepstakes, with general manager Martin Mayhew saying that he expects the team’s top two quarterbacks to be 2022 fifth rounder Sam Howell and free agent pickup Jacoby Brissett.
As egregious as passing on Jackson because you already have Howell and Brissett is, we’ll give the Commanders a pass.
But if Anthony Richardson, whose accuracy and inexperience as a starter have some scouts concerned, falls down the NFL Draft board- not out of the question- Washington must pounce.
With Brissett, a capable backup, on a one year-contract for 2023 and Howell still on a rookie deal, the Commanders wouldn’t be investing all that much money into the quarterback position.
Plus, they’d have a shiny new Lamborghini in the garage for new offensive coordinator and former Kansas City Chiefs coach Eric Bieniemy to take out for a spin when the Florida product is ready to start in the NFL.
The prospect of Bieniemy, who made defensive coordinators work long nights planning for his Patrick Mahomes-led offense, scheming up plays for Richardson is a scary thought.
3. Seattle Seahawks
After agreeing to a three-year, $105 million contract with Geno Smith, the Seahawks are set at quarterback- for now. But Seattle should not assume they are set at the position for the future after Smith’s breakout campaign in his age-32 season.
The Seahawks interestingly opted to keep the length of Smith’s contract short, which makes you wonder if they had already been planning on selecting a signal-caller in the NFL Draft.
They’ve certainly been doing their due diligence, meeting with each of the top four signal-callers in the draft.
But likely day one starters in Bryce Young and CJ Stroud don’t fit into the Seahawks’ timeline.
Richardson, who many view as a bit of a project, does.
The Gators star could sit behind Smith for a year or two on a Seahawks team that has proven to be quarterback-friendly in recent years.
With talented pass-catchers in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, as well as a head coach who has shown that he’s committed to having a capable rushing offense, the Seahawks are set up as a nice landing spot for Richardson.
2. Baltimore Ravens
Ahh, the wild card of our four teams. The Baltimore Ravens, who already have one of the most accomplished dual threat quarterbacks in league history, gambling on a dual threat quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft?
It sounds far-fetched.
But the Ravens might not have a choice at this point.
Reports have indicated that Jackson is open to the idea of playing for another team- and the fact that he flat-out requested a trade out of Baltimore in early March confirms that there’s some frustration there.
The Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, meaning that other teams can negotiate with the former NFL MVP.
The Ravens can match any offer, but if they don’t, the team will be compensated with two first round draft picks.
Baltimore doesn’t have any real options at quarterback behind Jackson, other than backup Tyler Huntley.
Why not persuade one of the QB-needy teams at the top of the draft to deal for Jackson, then use their pick to select Richardson?
Baltimore already knows how successful a dual-threat QB can be in their offense.
It will hurt if they lose Jackson. But in this scenario, they can sleep easy at night knowing they have one of the best athletes the NFL has ever seen at the quarterback position on a rookie deal.
1. Las Vegas Raiders
This is without a doubt the best possible landing spot for Anthony Richardson. It would have been the Detroit Lions, but their commitment to Jared Goff has seemingly taken them out of the running for any of the top prospects in the NFL Draft.
That leaves the Raiders, who brought Jimmy Garoppolo aboard on a three-year deal in free agency. Garoppolo is 40-17 in his career as a starter, but hasn’t exactly been a beacon of health, as he has played a full season just once.
The only quarterback behind Garoppolo at the moment? Chase Garbers.
You’re forgiven if you have no idea who that is.
Clearly, it would behoove the Raiders to take a long look at the quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft class- and they appear to be doing just that.
Las Vegas head coach Josh McDaniels hasn’t ruled out selecting a signal-caller in the draft. Plus, the team has met with Young, Levis and Richardson while attending Stroud’s pro day.
Richardson recently spoke about how his dinner with the Raiders was ‘great.’
Sure, the Raiders might not feel 100 percent confident in Garoppolo, 31, staying healthy over the course of a full season.
But the Raiders, who were expected to win in 2022, may be realizing that they’re farther away from contention than they thought.
While the signing of Garoppolo rules out a complete rebuild, a retool- while remaining competitive- might make more sense.
The Raiders should risk it all and take Richardson.
Let him sit for a year or two while the division rival Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos get older.
Let McDaniels, who has coached the greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady, help develop Richardson into a professional passer.
Las Vegas, which possesses plenty of weaponry on offense even after trading away tight end Darren Waller, has the pieces to help ease Richardson into life as an NFL quarterback.
The Raiders, more so than any other team, need to roll the dice and risk it all for Richardson in the 2023 NFL Draft.
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