Raiders GM Dave Ziegler ‘Intrigued’ by ‘Freak’ Athlete QB: Insider

dave ziegler

Getty Las Vegas Raiders GM Dave Ziegler.

There’s a lot of chatter about the Las Vegas Raiders bringing in Tom Brady this offseason but that’s only a temporary solution to a long-term problem. Derek Carr will not be back after being the starter for the past nine years. Brady would give the team two seasons at most.

The Raiders hold the No. 7 overall pick in the draft this year and that might be the highest pick they have for a few years. This could be the time to take advantage of having a good pick. Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis could be gone by the time Las Vegas selects. After those three, the best quarterback prospect left would be Florida’s Anthony Richardson.

General manager Dave Ziegler scouted the quarterback during the college football season and walked away from the game with some feelings about Richardson, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic.

“I haven’t yet dug into the top quarterback prospects, but I would pick my favorite of Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis,” Tafur wrote. “I know Florida’s Anthony Richardson intrigued general manager Dave Ziegler when he watched him live against Tennessee, and while some of his game tape scares me, going with him gives the Raiders more options.”

Florida lost the matchup against Tennessee 38-33 but Richardson threw for 453 yards while rushing for another 62 and scored four total touchdowns. It’s easy to see why Ziegler would be intrigued by the quarterback.

PFF Referred to Richardson as ‘Freak’

Richardson is likely the biggest boom-or-bust quarterback prospect in the draft. He’s big at 6-foot-4 and 232 pounds but runs with great speed. He’s also got a cannon for an arm and can make every NFL throw. Pro Football Focus had some strong thoughts on Richardson as he heads toward the NFL draft:

Calling Richardson a “freak” wouldn’t really do him justice with how frequently that word gets tossed around. When your closest physical comparison is someone like Cam Newton, you’re operating on a different plane than most quarterbacks. Richardson broke 39 tackles on 97 carries this season for 713 yards. He likely possesses the strongest arm and the best rushing ability of any quarterback in the class. Don’t assume that he’s just some complete project, either. Richardson’s attention to detail is on point already, as his footwork is consistent, which enables him to navigate a tight pocket exceptionally well. He’s not too far off from being able to start in the league.

There’s a lot to like about Richardson’s talent but he has serious accuracy issues. He had an uncatchable off-target rate on throws past the line of scrimmage of 35.8% in 2022, which is the worst of any other quarterback in the draft class, per PFF.

Is No. 7 Too High to Draft Richardson?

Richardson’s ceiling might be the highest in the entire draft. If he could work out his accuracy issues, he has the potential to be the next Josh Allen. Perhaps more than any other quarterback, he’ll need to land in a situation where the coaching staff can develop a quarterback.

Head coach Josh McDaniels didn’t have success with Derek Carr last season but he did good work with Mac Jones, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett in the past. Landing with the Raiders would be a good situation for Richardson as he’d be able to work with strong offensive coaches and elite weapons. However, he’s likely not ready to be an NFL starter. The Raiders would need a solid bridge quarterback while he develops. If the team signs Brady, they may need to use that first-round pick on a player who can help them next season, but it has to be appealing to pair a raw prospect with a ton of upside with the greatest quarterback of all time.

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