Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss the incredible performance of Florida QB Anthony Richardson at the NFL Scouting Combine, and debate if he can translate his physical tools into becoming a viable NFL quarterback.
DAN WETZEL: You're going to look back and go, wait, you didn't take this colossus of an athlete with unbelievable potential? You took the 5' 10" guy? The problem is the 5' 10" guy is really good at actual football.
Anthony Richardson is built for the combine, man. So now everyone in the NFL is like, well, you know, could he go top five? Could he go-- Bryce Young's only 5 foot 10 and 1/4, all of that.
Thoughts on Anthony Richardson this week? It was fun. If you like watching this stuff-- and I'm a glutton for punishment, and I actually occasionally do enjoy watching the combine. I won't watch them all. But it was something else to watch this guy just perform. But can he be an NFL quarterback? Because he certainly was not a great college quarterback. Pat, what do you think?
PAT FORDE: As you said, he's built for the combine. I will believe it when I see it that he's built for Sundays. I don't know.
You're right that everything that happened at the combine is everything we've all watched and thought, right? Oh, Bryce Young's small? Oh, well, yeah, we knew that. I also saw him absolutely carve up some incredibly good defenses and make hero play after hero play after hero play.
Anthony Richardson was one of those guys everybody was talking about from preseason 2021, and he had two years to become something other than just a physical colossus, and he never really did. Doesn't mean he can't. He might just, you know, not be on as fast a developmental track as Bryce Young or CJ Stroud, and yeah, you do love physical gifts, but man, I would be extremely leery of drafting him high.
And same thing with Will Levis. I just I didn't see enough production in the areas that tend to really, really matter for NFL quarterbacks. So I would say buyer beware.
ROSS DELLENGER: As much as Dan enjoys the combine, I don't enjoy the combine. I watched very little, but obviously I saw the video, the slow-motion video. I loved the slow-motion video of Anthony Richardson going up for his record vertical jump. I don't know how a vertical jump is going to help him play quarterback, but he definitely is-- there was evidence there on the field that Anthony Richardson is what we all thought, and that is an athletic freak, you know?
And I think we all know that being a quarterback, right, is more than having athleticism. So I'm kind of with Pat there, right? I'll believe it when I see it and very much buyer beware. It'll be interesting. Like, where was he projected-- I don't even know. Like, where was he projected going into the combine, and how have those projections-- have they changed?
DAN WETZEL: I don't know. I'm not following the mock drafts, and I don't really know. I did talk to a number of NFL teams across the last, you know, six months about Anthony Richardson, and I believe this is still the case. It's including a few since the season ended. And the bit was like top 10 or fourth round.
And it's like, you know, tell me I'm wrong. I can't, right? Tell me I got this wrong. I don't know. I don't know.
I think he was-- I think people thought he'd end up in the first round because the most predictable thing was he was going to go to Indianapolis and every single-- I mean, these are jaded-- these are people who have been watching players work out for 30 years, 40, and they're all, like, sitting on the edge of their seat, you know, going oh my Lord. Like, this is Cam Newton-type stuff where you're just like physically, I don't know.
The whole thing is the NFL's temptation is look at the physical gifts on this guy, and he's only 20 and is in two years-- he didn't-- he wasn't surrounded by great talent. He had to switch coaches. I mean, we could make a million excuses and say I'm taking him above Will Levis, right? It's not like I'm sold on Will Levis, you know?
Or you're going to look back and go, wait, you didn't take this colossus of an athlete with unbelievable potential? You took the 5' 10" guy who isn't-- you know, so that's the thing. The problem is the 5' 10" guy is really good at actual football.
PAT FORDE: Yes, right.
DAN WETZEL: Like, he's unbelievable.
PAT FORDE: Beating teams on the field and making plays that beat teams on the field.
DAN WETZEL: Yeah. Forget the-- like, great at the combine. How about great at the football?
PAT FORDE: Yeah,
DAN WETZEL: But you sit there and go, I got to take a guy this size for 17 games? Like, he's not going to make it. This is the terrifying part.
So I think he has raised his draft status because I think there's a bit of, like, this is a great athlete, and then you're looking and going, what if I'm designing plays where I have a 244-pounder running a 4.3 and he can vertical leap over 10 feet or something like that or whatever? I mean, not 10 feet but broad jump 10 feet, that type of stuff where it's just like-- I mean, what are the-- let me see his number. Yeah, his broad was 10 foot, 9 inches. his vertical was 40 and 1/2. I mean, my God.
So that's it. I don't know. It's going to be wild to see where this goes. He'll have his pro day. Bryce Young, they're all concerned because of the size.