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Anthony Richardson has become a near-lock to be a Top 5 pick in the NFL Draft. Following a ridiculous scouting combine performance, he flew up draft boards.
DraftKings lists him as -330 to go in the Top 5. As for the most likely spot, he’s even money (+100) to go #3 overall. Of course, the Arizona Cardinals hold that pick and they’re not going to take a quarterback.
However, there is a lot of chatter that they want to trade that pick to a team that DOES want a quarterback.
All that in mind, Anthony Richardson posted a letter to The Players’ Tribune on Thursday.
“I know that draft night is a big night for you, and it’s definitely a big night for me and my family,” he writes. “I don’t take for granted what it’s going to mean to hear my name called on that stage. This isn’t just about football. It’s life changing.
“So before everything is locked in, I just wanted to take this last opportunity to tell you a little more about my story. If you’re going to make a bet on me, then I want you to know where I come from, and why I play this game.”
He goes on to detail his early life and the role his uncle played in his football life. His uncle passed away when Richardson was in the sixth grade.
Then he explains why he’s not a gamble for NFL teams.
“I know a lot of y’all want to know if I’m ready to step onto a professional team,” Richardson writes. “I keep hearing that the NFL isn’t like college. It’s a different level. It’s more mental. Nothing’s going to be handed to you. I can tell you right now, if that’s what it takes then I’m ready. All due respect, that’s nothing new for me — it’s the same in life. If you want to eat, you gotta work for it. I know all about that.
“And, yeah, I may not pay attention to all the noise, but I do hear the critics,” he contines.
“I know the things people are picking apart. People talk about whether I can be accurate. They say I don’t have touch. They say I can’t throw short… All I gotta say is: Watch how hard I work. In my mind, I can do anything with the football in my hand — but I know that no one will ever work harder than me to improve.”
Anthony Richardson writes letter to NFL coaches and GMs, but is that really who is meant to read it?
It’s a well-written letter and surely all the same things he’s said to NFL teams during meetings and interviews.
That’s the interesting piece here. Richardson says he’s writing to NFL coaches and general managers. But this is obviously a story that they know at this point. When teams are considering top picks in the NFL Draft, they want to know EVERYTHING.
It’s highly unlikely that anything in this letter is news to them. Plus, if it’s really for coaches and GMs, why not just send it to them instead of posting it online?
My suspicion is that this a full PR play. He knows fans and analysts will criticize the team who drafts him. Especially if that team drafts him in the Top 5.
He’s a project quarterback, meaning he’s not ready to be an NFL starter right now. Usually, guys taken with top picks are expected to be ready.
My thought is that he’s trying to pre-convince fans that he’ll be a good NFL quarterback. In turn, it gives the coach and GM something to point at and say “we got the the right guy.”
From that perspective, it’s a smart move. Richardson clearly has self-awareness about his own NFL prospects and that’s a good thing.
I’m just not sure this makes me feel better if I’m a fan of the team that drafts him.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak