NFL rumors: Anthony Richardson draft hype gets bucket of ice water poured on it

Florida QB Anthony Richardson had a lot of post-combine hype, but the rumors of his first place finish may be completely exaggerated.

With what Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson did at the NFL Combine this past weekend, it was only a matter of time before the hype around the uber sports caller reached a fever pitch. Sure enough, that happened.

There were reports throughout the Monday and Tuesday immediately after the trip to Indianapolis that Richardson would likely be the first pick in the draft. Even with his 40-yard dash of 4.43 seconds at 6-foot-4, 244 pounds combined with a vertical leap of 40.5 inches and 10-foot-9, that would be shocking.

It might just be too much hot air.

NFL analyst Lance Zierlein responded to a fan on Twitter when asked about rumors that Richardson had squashed interviewees in the draft, leading to a buzz about being No. 1. But that response was like a dunk tank full to the brim. Ice water is poured over the noise draft.

NFL Draft rumours: Anthony Richardson shocked teams in a nasty way in interviews at the Combine

Not only did Zierlein confirm that Anthony Richardson wowed in interviews at the NFL Combine, but he went so far as to say that The Athletic’s Dane Brugler heard — as he said on a podcast taped together — that the Florida quarterback shocked teams with his range. He was behind him from the “football point of view”.

I didn’t hear he “killed it with interviews.” I heard all QBs were doing well in interviews. He’s doing a podcast now with Dane and said teams were surprised at how far behind he was from a football standpoint.

— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) March 7, 2023

That seems noticeable.

Nor is it surprising at all. Yes, Richardson is a unicorn physically. Players of his size don’t usually have a combination of incredible speed, explosiveness, and all-around athleticism with a full cannon attached at the shoulder. But Richardson does. However, when you play the tape, it’s clear that the trigger is legitimate.

Between his bouts with inaccuracies across the field and baffling decision-making, it’s pretty clear that Richardson only started one full season at Florida, and frankly, the results from that year weren’t all that impressive overall.

Make no mistake, Anthony Richardson is a project worthwhile. Players with his tools are exceptionally rare, and with the right development, his ceiling is astronomically high. But before we start preparing for his No. 1 pick for any team the Bears trade, we might need to hit the brakes and think Zierlein is where Richardson is as a quarterback mentally.

Because when you watch the movie, it tracks.

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