Anthony Richardson Traits Suggests NFL Star Quarterback In Making But Metrics Say Otherwise

KANSAS CITY -- The so-called book is so thin on Anthony Richardson and the tape is so scant that draft evaluators working for NFL teams and television networks both have turned to history and metrics to try to understand the University of Florida quarterback's chances of succeeding.

One NFL team evaluator told OutKick this week that his team did a study on NFL busts at quarterback and, without sharing the details of the study, came away believing Richardson has the second-highest bust potential compared to his physical abilities of any quarterback in the first two rounds.

NFL Network draft analyst Joel Klatt did a study on all the Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks this century, studying what they all did as college players.

Considering all of them from Tom Brady in 2001 to Patrick Mahomes last season, those championship quarterbacks came to the NFL after averaging 1,000 pass attempts, 700 completions, close to 60 touchdown passes and 30 college starts.

Richardson Knows He Needs To Develop

Alabama's Bryce Young and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud come close or surpass those averages. Both blow away the touchdown passes metric.

Richardson, presumed to be the likely third quarterback to be selected Thursday night in the first round of the draft, met none of those criteria.

And that's the problem with Richardson:

He had moments when he looked like the greatest quarterback prospect to come out in years. But the metrics and the statistics were merely solid-to-good.

"But not great," Richardson told OutKick on Wednesday. "I know. But I'm telling teams to help me make them great. That's what I say. I can get there with help. I know I can. I'm going to put in the work. I know they're going to put in the work. But football is a team sport so let's get great together. It's going to be a great collaboration. Together we can make it great."

That's where the promise and danger in drafting Richardson meet.

His statistics and his tape suggest he's an inconsistent and undeveloped prospect who could be a bust. His size, speed, arm talent and intelligence suggest he's going to be a star.

Both cannot be true.

Joel Klatt Study On QBs An Eye-Opener

"Richardson hasn't even attempted 400 passes in college," Klatt said. "So the body of work is so thin that it's really hard to evaluate him. The traits are off the charts. If you can develop him into a quarterback that is efficient both in and out of the pocket, he's got the traits that would make him a top 2 or 3 player in the entire league.

"He can be the best player on the field at any given moment. He's so intriguing because of his upside. It's just that there's not a big body of tape there. That's what's giving people more pause than anything else."

History is giving people pause. And the old Bill Parcells formula for evaluating college quarterbacks agrees.

Parcells, a Pro Football Hall of Fame coach, wanted his quarterbacks to meet certain criteria before he went forward in evaluating their abilities:

And yet ... Richardson is a presumed first-round pick.

"To the people that do a really good job of evaluating, good luck guys," NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said. "You got to do a little bit different evaluation because you're not going to get the rest of the evidence to come in. With him, you see all the flashes. Utah tape, you might take him as the first quarterback. Kentucky tape, you're not taking him first quarterback. Tennessee tape he was really pretty darn good.

"I've watched him throw in person. That bad boy comes off his hand like nobody's business ... It's mesmerizing. Was his completion percentage all his fault? No. He didn't have the same receivers you normally get at Florida. At the same time, there were inaccuracies."

Is Josh Allen Comparable A Good One?

Pundits who point to Josh Allen as the comparable talent for Richardson obviously believe he'll be a star in the making. All he needs is time to develop.

"I get it," Davis said. "Allen was a 50-something percent passer in college but was 70 percent by his third year in the NFL. Cool. Who else? He's still the outlier.

"So until we get more evidence, I'd say you can improve. But that's a monster jump. It's off the charts. And hard to expect everyone to do it."

Richardson is predictably confident that none of the metrics that predict success can define him. This week he compared himself to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson but only if you "add a little flavor to it as well," he said.

"I feel like everybody's gifted in their own way," Richardson added. "Everybody here is gifted. But I'm gifted as well."

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by

Armando Salguero is a national award-winning columnist and is OutKick's Senior NFL Writer. He has covered the NFL since 1990 and is a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a voter for the Associated Press All-Pro Team and Awards. Salguero, selected a top 10 columnist by the APSE, has worked for the Miami Herald, Miami News, Palm Beach Post and ESPN as a national reporter. He has also hosted morning drive radio shows in South Florida.