Draft Expert: Seahawks would be ‘fantastic spot’ for Florida QB Richardson

Feb 21, 2023, 11:09 AM
Seahawks Anthony Richardson...
Anthony Richardson of the Florida Gators throws a pass against South Carolina on Nov. 12, 2022. (James Gilbert/Getty Images)
(James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Will the Seahawks use their robust draft capital on a quarterback?

Is Bears QB Justin Fields a new name for Seahawks to watch?

The Seahawks have two first-round picks and two second-rounders in April’s NFL Draft, and they face some uncertainty at the position with both Geno Smith and Drew Lock set to hit free agency.

If Seattle wants to draft a future signal-caller, there are a number of names to watch, such as Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. But what about more of a project quarterback?

It’s been less common in recent years for teams to spend a first-round pick on a quarterback who sits for a full season or more, but some teams have had success in that regard, notably the Kansas City Chiefs and superstar Patrick Mahomes, who started just one game as a rookie in 2017.

When looking at this year’s draft class, someone who stands out for his physical skills is Florida’s Anthony Richardson. He’s certainly caught the eye of draft expert Matt Miller, a contributor for ESPN.

“The tools are rare. I could probably count on one hand over the past 15 years quarterbacks I’ve seen who just have his rare ability,” Miller told Mike Salk on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk Tuesday morning. “He’s 6 foot 4, 230 (pounds), he’s outrunning people, he has the biggest arm in the draft class.”

But Richardson is far from a sure thing at the NFL level.

While he’s quite the physical specimen at quarterback, Richardson is only a one-year starter who completed just under 54% of his passes for the Gators in 2022. In his career, Richardson has 24 passing touchdowns in 393 attempts and 15 interceptions. He’s also rushed for 1,116 yards on 161 attempts and scored 12 rushing touchdowns.

“You never know where the ball is going. He was not good under pressure. He’s started 13 games and thrown under 400 passes … You haven’t seen enough,” Miller said. “So I think with him, you’re truly drafting a work in progress.”

Miller has Richardson graded anywhere from 25 to 29 in terms of all 2023 draft prospects in part because “he has a lot of work to do.”

And as with any quarterback, his landing spot will be key.

“If you draft him in the top 10 or 15 – which is very possible – but if you draft them that early, he’s expected to be something. He’s expected to be your quarterback of the future pretty quickly,” Miller said. “I think if you draft him in the late half (of the first round), it’s a Jordan Love situation (with the Green Bay Packers) where it’s like, ‘OK, we know this guy needs time to sit and wait.'”

Miller doesn’t think Richardson is currently in play for the Seahawks with the No. 5 overall pick, but he thinks at No. 20, Richardson to Seattle would make some sense.

“I think yes, Seattle would be a fantastic spot for him because at pick 20, you’re not being expected to come in and unseat anybody,” he said. “But it’s also nice insurance in case this year was a ‘genie in a bottle’ year for Geno Smith. And if not, Geno’s a little bit older, he’s a veteran at this point, and having someone learn behind a quarterback who’s gonna turn 33 this season is not the worst thing.”

Listen to the full interview with Miller at this link or in the player below.

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