Seahawks Could Eventually Replace Geno Smith With ‘Athletic Freak’

Geno Smith

Getty The Seahawks could eventually replace Geno Smith with Anthony Richardson, predicts one draft expert.

The Seattle Seahawks could be looking at their quarterback of the future.

As proposed by CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson, the Seahawks could look towards the 2023 NFL draft to select University of Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. Wilson projects the Seahawks to select Richardson with the 15th overall pick in the draft. As the draft analyst notes, even if Seattle brings back Geno Smith as the starting quarterback, Richardson could eventually take over the starting job in a couple of years.

“Geno Smith has had a phenomenal season, and there’s every reason to believe he deserves to be the Seahawks starter in ’23,” says Wilson. “But he’s currently on a one-year deal, and even if Seattle bring him back for, say, two years, that’s best-case for Richardson, who may need time to grow into the role. He is one of the most exciting prospects in this class. Yes, he’s short on experience, but his physical tools are rare.”

Why the Seahawks Should Target Richardson

The 21-year-old has started just one season with the Gators, but he has shown his dual-threat ability in short tenure at the University of Florida. Richardson threw for 17 touchdowns while rushing for 654 yards and nine touchdowns during the 2022 season. However, he completed just 53.8 percent of his passes. In other words, Richardson will likely need more seasoning before he steps in as a starting quarterback.

Assuming the Seahawks re-sign Smith for another couple years, that would give Richardson enough time to develop before stepping in as the franchise quarterback during his third year. As NFL Draft Buzz details, Richardson is an “athletic freak” at quarterback.

“He’s an athletic freak – in fact, he made Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List at number 50 — ‘ Richardson is a chiseled 6-4, 238 pounds with just 10 percent body fat and says he has run a 4.4 40 and can throw a football 75 yards. Football insiders eye-balling college quarterbacks at this summer’s Manning Passing Academy were wowed by Richardson’s physical tools, saying he and Kentucky’s Will Levis were well above and beyond every other quarterback there. Richardson cleans 325 pounds and squatted 500 this offseason.'”

Smith’s Play Falling off as Season Wears On

While Smith has established himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the league this season, he’s 32 years old and this is the first season he’s been a productive starter. In fact, he hadn’t served as a starting quarterback since the 2014 season with the New York Jets. With the Seahawks slowing down a bit since their solid start to the season — they’re 7-7, having lost four of their past five games — Smith may not be the bonafide franchise quarterback Seattle needs.

As ESPN’s Bill Barnwell brings up, Smith played like a “superstar” in the beginning of the season.

“Smith was a legitimate MVP candidate. He was completing 73.1% of his passes and posting a plus-7.1% completion percentage over expectation (CPOE), with 15 touchdown passes and four picks,” said Barnwell. “He was responsible for just five giveaways through nine games, and that was a winning formula for Seattle.”

However, over the past five games, Smith’s play has fallen from that elite category.

“Across the five ensuing games, Smith’s 54.6 QBR ranks 16th,” said Barnwell. “His CPOE is still above average, but it’s dropped to plus-3.4%. He is averaging nearly 8 yards per attempt, but he has turned the ball over seven times. He hasn’t been the problem for the Seahawks, but he has gone from playing like a superstar to falling more into the pleasant surprise category.”

With Smith possibly being more of a solid starter than anything else, Seattle might have to plan for the future with the selection of Richardson.

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