The Indianapolis Colts picked Anthony Richardson at No. 4 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. He'll join former Jalen Hurts offensive coordinator Shane Steichen as central figures at the outset of new era in Indianapolis. We've been monitoring Richardson since his mini breakout in 2021 when he flashed as a redshirt freshman at Florida. Check this article for a film GIF-filled scouting report.
Anthony Richardsonwith a record-setting performance that featured an official 4.43 time in the 40-yard dash, the highest vertical by a QB in official recorded combine history -- 40.5 inches -- and the longest broad jump ever by a QB since at least 1999 at 10-foot-9.
And he did it all at a slightly-larger-than-Derrick Henry 6-foot-4 and 244 pounds. Insert your favorite mind-blown GIF here.
Bryce Young is considerably more poised and polished than Richardson, but we're talking about the most explosive quarterback workout in at least 20 years from one of the biggest, thickest quarterbacks in that time frame. Richardson's combine showing, and the likelihood is much greater now that he's a top-10 pick. He might even be the second quarterback off the board. And if he jumps Bryce Young to be the first passer selected, the team that takes him will be betting on his otherworldly athletic traits.
Richardson was the full-time starter at Florida in 2022, but way back in 2021, when he was a relief pitcher of sorts for then-Gators starter Emory Jones as a redshirt freshman, I watched one of Richardson's games, and I was so enamored by what I witnessed that I felt compelled to write a story about someone who wasn't even draft-eligible at the time.
When Richardson declared, I updated my original article, the latter of which is loaded with film GIFs from that ultra-flashy freshman season in 2021.
Update: December 2022 - Now that Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson has, it's appropo to reflect on an article I wrote all the way back in September 2021 after my first few exposures to Richardson during his redshirt freshman season with the Gators.
Now, he has made strides since this article was published, but his 2022 season never quite took off after a dazzling opening-game performance upsetting the eventual Pac-12 champion Utah Utes in The Swamp. Everything below comes from the original piece in September 2021.
Original: September 2021 - Sometimes something is so noteworthy an exception must be made to the rule.
And I've never highlighted a college player who wasn't draft eligible, but the skill set of Florida's redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Richardson is too tantalizing not to be put in the spotlight. Right now.
He's demonstrated No. 1 overall-pick talent and feels like a mixture of Cam Newton and Lamar Jackson. I'm serious.
Richardson and the Gators have a colossal showdown with No. 1-ranked Alabama in the swamp at 3:30pm ET on CBS. This is the first in what will be a litany of major barometer games in Richardson's collegiate career that will gauge his production capabilities.
In two games this season, as the clear backup to Emory Jones, Richardson has completed six of 11 passes for 192 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. And he's been unfathomable on the ground -- 11 carries for 275 with two more scores, a ridiculous ground-game stat line that includes touchdown runs of 73 and 80 yards.
Have I mentioned Richardson is listed at 6-foot-4 and 236 pounds with a rocket-launcher arm?
Let me show you what Richardson brings to the field every game. Look away if you're a defensive enthusiast.
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OK, by now, in the year 2021, we've seen a fair share of large athletic quarterbacks who are a pain to tackle because of the problems their mass presents for would-be tacklers -- think Newton, Josh Allen, Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance and Justin Herbert.
Richardson fits into that category -- on the high end. He runs with more twitch than any of the NFL quarterbacks listed above but still can drop the hammer on every carry. I mean, how do you stop this?
If you're asking yourself "what did I just watch?" don't worry, I had the exact same thought, too.
Notice not only how outrageous jump-cutting the defender behind the line was but Richardson's burst after it to explode up the field. Then two defenders had him corralled. Or they thought they did. He side-stepped the first would-be tackler, swiped away the next while singing Jay-Z's "On To The Next One" in his head. Then to cap everything, a successful hurdle -- with essentially no time to gather his momentum -- to get the first down.
As if that wasn't awe-inspiring enough, here's Richardson eluding a free outside rusher, accelerating through space before finishing with a full head of steam through a Florida Atlantic defender past the sticks.
The initial movement on that play was, again, genuinely freaky, and the level of bend and speed at which he turned the corner into the second was reminiscent of an F1 car staying on a winding road.
If you're a skeptic at heart, you may realize Richardson's quick for his size but assume he's likely not that fast because of all the mass he's carrying. That assumption would be wrong.
Late in the throttling of FAU, Richardson kept it on another innocuous-looking zone-read. All he needed was one kick-out block -- which he got -- and, yeah, he was gone.
But maybe that was too easy, right? The lead block did pave the way through a giant running lane. I've provided a 73-yard Richardson touchdown against FAU and will raise you an 80-yard rushing score last week against South Florida. Much more difficult.
Richardson shrugged off a tackler in his grill just past the line of scrimmage, effortlessly stiff-armed a defensive back at the 35 then it was time for a house call.
Richardson has seen some schemed-open receivers on his 11 pass attempts through two games -- and he's undoubtedly a raw passer as a redshirt freshman -- but he's made the most of his opportunities throwing the ball.
Here against FAU, a flick of the wrist and it's 35 yards downfield up and over the underneath cornerback for a splash play.
Then just last week against South Florida he put a pair of dimes on film. Both had added flair thanks to his athletic gifts. On the first, Richardson faked a designed run then launched the ball 40 yards while almost fading away from the pass with a defender launching into his front hip.
Great play, right? Not phenomenal, though. This next bucket throw was. After gliding to his right and feeling an oncoming edge rusher, Richardson floated left and was met by a pair of front-seven defenders. As they collided with him, Richardson released the ball deep down the field. It landed gorgeously over the cornerback and into his receiver's arms just before he ran out of bounds.
Now that was the definition of arm talent.
Richardson did tweak his hamstring against South Florida on his 80-yard touchdown, but head coach Dan Mullen provided a "favorable update" on his star backup Tuesday, insinuating the injury was minor and that the hulking quarterback would practice in the week leading up to the clash against Alabama.
Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide have taken down a multitude of highly talented quarterbacks over the past 15 years. But Richardson has a legitimate case for being the most physically gifted. He's not eligible until the 2023 NFL Draft. However, I have a feeling those GIFs are now burned into your brain and will be easily accessible for recall next year.