ESPN’s Mel Kiper projects Anthony Richardson to go in top 10

NFL draft experts have projected former Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson to come off the board as early as the first overall pick, but the latest one to come is from ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and has the Seattle Seahawks trading up to the No. 9 overall spot to get him.

That pick is reliant on a few things. First, Carolina has to trade up to No. 5 to get Kentucky’s Will Levis. Richardson has been linked with the Panthers and Carolina wouldn’t give up a shot at one of the top quarterbacks in the class without securing one with an earlier pick beforehand.

Then, Las Vegas has to pass on Richardson, which is something Kiper sees happening given the timeline on both sides. Seattle makes sense. It’s looking for a new franchise quarterback, but there’s no real need to move on to someone who isn’t ready quite yet. In fact, Seattle might be one of the best destinations for a quarterback that needs time to develop to land.

“Here’s a team that could afford to take a developmental quarterback with elite upside,” Kiper said. “Seattle has said it wants to bring back veteran Geno Smith, but what if the organization uses the franchise tag on Smith, plays him for a season and adds Richardson to take over in 2024? That’d be the ideal scenario for Richardson.”

Kiper likes the match here but could also see the Seahawks going with an edge rusher at the No. 9 spot. Risking a top-10 pick on a guy with 13 career starts might not go over so well with the fanbase, so that’s a safer route.

Richardson seems like a guaranteed first-rounder at this point, but everyone has seen a quarterback fall after receiving a ton of pre-draft hype. The talk should only increase over the next month as the combine takes place. Only time will tell if Richardson is a top-10 pick, though.

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