Anthony Richardson named as a ‘logical fit’ for the Commanders in 2023 NFL draft
Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson put on a show Saturday at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. Everyone knew coming into the combine that Richardson would be the most-talked-about quarterback at the combine.
He didn’t disappoint. Before Richardson took the field for drills Saturday, he met with teams throughout the week, shining in the interview process. Some felt Richardson performed better in the interviews than the other quarterbacks.
As for what he did on the field, Richardson arguably had the best quarterback workout in the combine’s history. His closest competitor, Robert Griffin III, went No. 2 overall to Washington back in 2012.
Anthony Richardson shattered quarterback records at the #NFLCombine, earning a maximum athleticism score of 99 (pending official numbers).
QB Combine Ranks (since 2003):
🔸 40-Yard Dash: 4.44 (2nd)
🔸 Broad Jump: 10'9" (1st)
🔸 Vertical Jump: 40.5" (1st)
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— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 4, 2023
Speaking of Washington, could the Commanders, who pick No. 16 overall, make a move up in the 2023 NFL draft to secure Richardson’s services?
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein recently named the best fits for Richardson in the draft. He named the Carolina Panthers the frontrunner, with a 25% chance of landing in Richardson.
Next, he named three teams [Lions, Raiders & Commanders] as logical fits, giving each team a 15% chance of landing Richardson.
Here’s what he said of Washington:
With Eric Bieniemy taking over the offense in Washington, the possibility of Richardson to the Commanders seemingly increases. Bieniemy understands what it’s like to groom a physically gifted playmaker in need of additional polish, since that was the book on Patrick Mahomes when he was coming out of Texas Tech.
Washington has an ascending wide receiver corps and a couple of solid running backs. The Commanders may be willing to fold Richardson into a starting role sooner than most of the other teams on this list.
This makes sense. While head coach Ron Rivera initially ruled out a big move for a quarterback, he seemed to back off that stance last week. While he said that Sam Howell was Washington’s “QB1” entering the offseason before, last week, he said Howell wasn’t officially the starting quarterback.
Is that change of heart due to Bieniemy? Perhaps Bieniemy would like to take a quarterback high in the draft. Maybe that quarterback is the most physically gifted one available? That would be Richardson.
The Panthers hired Frank Reich as a head coach and assembled an all-star staff around him. Carolina is positioned well to take a quarterback high in the draft, and Richardson appears a logical fit.
However, while Richardson’s stock is at an all-time high at the moment, remember the things said about Malik Willis last year? Willis lasted until the third round. Howell, who was once considered a first-round prospect, landed until the top pick in the fifth round. You can’t assume Richardson will go so high that he isn’t an option for the Commanders.
Some team fell in love with Richardson this weekend. Perhaps, more than one team. Bieniemy came from Kansas City, where he coached the most physically gifted passer in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes. That’s not to compare Richardson to Mahomes, which is unfair but to point out that some of the same things were said about Mahomes in 2017.
Of course, to be clear, Mahomes was much further ahead as a passer than Richardson when he came out.
While Richardson to the Commanders is unlikely, you can’t rule out anything.