During the NFL Scouting Combine, many of the top quarterback prospects helped their stock. Perhaps the biggest riser was Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. Just a few weeks ago, he was considered a late first-round prospect. After the NFL Scouting Combine, there’s talk of him being a top-five pick.
The Las Vegas Raiders need to add a quarterback or two. Chase Garbers is the only one on the roster right now. The Raiders don’t pick until No. 7 so there’s a chance that all of the top quarterbacks will be gone by the time they pick. If they want to secure one of the top four guys, they’ll likely need to trade up. In Todd McShay’s latest mock draft for ESPN, he predicts the Raiders to trade up to the No. 4 spot and select Richardson:
His physical traits are exciting, and if coach Josh McDaniels can work with him on his footwork and accuracy, the sky’s the ceiling. On one hand, Richardson threw 17 touchdown passes — including three of 40-plus air yards — and rushed for an FBS QB-high 6.4 yards per carry in 2022. On the other, he completed 54.7% of his throws over 13 career starts. The upside comes with risk, and I do think he might need more time to develop before taking over as an NFL starter. But if the 6-4, 244-pound signal-caller can put it all together, sign me up for big-time throws to Davante Adams and highlight-reel runs on Sundays in Vegas.
Richardson Broke Records at Combine
Plenty of quarterbacks have strong showings at the NFL Scouting Combine but that wouldn’t do justice to how special Richardson’s week was. Despite measuring 6-foot-4 and weighing 244, the quarterback ran a 4.43 40-yard dash, which is the third fastest a quarterback has run at the event since 2003. His 40.5-inch vertical jump set a modern-day record for quarterbacks and his 10-foot-9 broad jump tied Arkansas’ Matt Jones for the modern-day quarterback record.
From a pure athleticism perspective, Richardson is one of the greatest quarterback prospects ever. He’s more athletic than most skill-position players. If a coach can get his skill level as a passer to match his athleticism, he has Hall of Fame potential. However, that’s going to take a lot of work.
There Is Risk With Raiders Drafting Richardson
Drafting Richardson late in the first round would be a no-brainer. He’s a risky prospect but a late first round is worth the risk. Using a top-five pick on a player who needs this much work is a huge risk. Head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler could put their careers with the Raiders on the line if that move didn’t work out.
That said, Las Vegas shares a division with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. The Raiders could be at a quarterback disadvantage for the next decade. Richardson could be a bust but his ceiling is at the level of Mahomes and Herbert. Sometimes teams have to take big swings to get over the hump. The Raiders haven’t taken a big swing at quarterback since they drafted JaMarcus Russell in 2007. Though that move didn’t work out for the team, it could finally be time to try their luck once again.