Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson and Jori Epstein discuss the hype surrounding Florida quarterback and top 2023 NFL Draft prospect Anthony Richardson, who put on a dominant display at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. While many may be ready to lock Richardson in as a top pick in the draft, Charles says NFL evaluators may be hesitant due to his inconsistent film.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Says we come out of this. What was your takeaway from this one? Was there anything you heard, or just the overall vibe of it that maybe as you depart is sort of sticking in the back of your mind?
JORI EPSTEIN: Yeah, I think one thing that really interests me is just the quarterback situation, and it's almost like a good problem for quarterback-needy teams to have, that the question isn't "is there a quarterback that works," it's "which one are we going to prioritize, and how many are we going to get in the top 10?" So that definitely really stood out to me. How about you?
CHARLES ROBINSON: I think they all kind of lived up to what people thought they could live up to, still with some of the potential warts, but for the most part, I don't think anyone collapsed or had any-- Anthony Richardson obviously is a player that did well for himself at this Combine. There's a lot of hype about that.
This is interesting, now distancing ourselves from it a little bit more and talking to evaluators, now that that situation has sunk in, watching Anthony Richardson blow it out as an athlete at the Combine. No question about that.
There were definitely some hard eye rolls about, OK, there was literally no pass rush. It's shorts. Go back to the film. They just say the same thing, go back to the film. The teams that really like him are going to find reasons to massage the flaws that they saw and figure out reasons to maybe overlook some of the accuracy issues or some of the decision-making issues, which is fine.
But what I got, interestingly enough, as I distance myself from that workout, was a lot of people saying, hey, pull back on the hype a little bit. Yeah, he had a good showing. We expected this kind of an athletic showing. But again, when you go back to the tape, he had huge runs of success where he looked great, and then there was some sizable pocks in that evaluation where you're like, OK, there's a lot of work to do here.
And I had one evaluator who spent a lot of time looking at him, his canvas pretty well in terms of the Florida staff, and I think probably knows some extremely well who said don't let them be drafted in the top five. This is-- I'm paraphrasing here, but basically it was like, look, it would be bad for him to be drafted in the top five in this expectation that he would play right away.
Hopefully he goes to the right team and the right situation where you can sit, and there's some patience with him. So on the number one overall pick stuff, which I did see some of that. Oh, maybe he's the number one overall pick, and look at the Vegas odds, and all these things.
JORI EPSTEIN: You're not buying it?
CHARLES ROBINSON: I think people got to calm down a little bit. It reminds me a little bit of Jordan Love, honestly. I remember when Jordan Love had his super heat kind of, oh, in the process, Jordan Love. Everybody likes Jordan Love, and it feels like he's maybe moving up.
And then we saw Jordan Love when Draft Day came around, teams had spent a lot of time on him and thought, OK, he's a little more of a project than we thought, and we saw him slide. I'm not saying Richardson's going to do that, but did he move himself inside top 10? Maybe. Did he move himself to number one? No.
JORI EPSTEIN: I had a couple conversations with team execs this weekend, and it was about former top five picks on their respective teams, or at least teams-- they had drafted them. And one of them that really stuck out to me regarding a defender that had been drafted in the top five was, he's actually a good rotational player.
His issue wasn't that he couldn't play football. It was that he was drafted in the top five and didn't meet that expectation. And I'm not saying that with all these quarterbacks, and it's not exact apples to apples, but there is this sort of yeah, you want to be able to make as much money as you can, get as much buy-in from the front office and coaching staff as you can.
But there's also a legitimate case for someone that-- getting a little bit of time to breathe at the pro level, a little bit of time to adjust, a little bit of time to learn behind someone else. And like what you're saying, quality in the top five isn't always net, over the life span of your career isn't always the best thing for you.
CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, it's not, especially at quarterback. But yeah, I, mean, that's the thing. Those expectations, particularly at quarterback, it doesn't matter. Nobody wants to see quarterbacks sit anymore anyway, especially when they're first-round picks, but especially when they're top five picks, things of that nature.