Why rookie QBs earned spots in Simms’ QB Countdown

Chris Simms explains to Mike Florio how Anthony Richardson landed ahead of No. 1 and No. 2 overall draft picks Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, how rookies beat out QBs who have taken NFL snaps and more.

Video Transcript

- Quarterbacks vying to get to one Super Bowl, much less two. Guys who are just breaking into the sport, breaking into the top 40 countdown. How do you factor in? Because we're going to have some guys coming up who have never played in the NFL.

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- Right.

- How do you compare guys who have never played in the NFL to guys who have when you're making this ranking?

- Right. Well, I've got some young guys here. And yeah, this is where I may be taking the liberty of just the potential, where they're going to be after a few weeks in training camp. OK, I'm taking a little liberty there of, like, the growth in training camp and OTA's. I don't lie.

But I think the big thing is I put some of these rookie quarterbacks above two guys that I looked at that are like rookies anyways, right? One guy threw the ball 18 times in a throwaway end to the regular season game. Another guy played the last four games and was managed very closely, and they ran the ball, and tried to run out the clock.


These guys that we're going to talk about here-- and yeah, we got three rookies coming up-- that I just believe once they get just the feel of the playbook, they have more talent than the guys we talked about yesterday. They're better natural players in a lot of ways, and that's where I took the liberty to, yeah, maybe think about them through OTA's and training camp, and giving them that boost. But I don't think that gap is that big, and I think they close that in a hurry.

- All right, so let's start with the guy who comes in at number 38 on the 2023 Chris Simms top 40 quarterback. He is the number one overall pick in the draft, 5' 10 and 1/8," 195 pounds soaking wet.

- Yeah.

- Bryce Young.


- Yeah, Bryce Young. I mean, we talked about him a lot. He's got he's got a natural feel for the game. I mean, he does. He's got a lot of talent, instincts, whatever you want to say. We talked about the athlete himself, quick as hell to move and make people miss, right? Anticipation, the ability, like the play you showed a few weeks ago or last week with Frank Reich when he knew it was a moment. The ability to diagnose things at the line of scrimmage. Wow, a lot of different special releases to go off of that.

So that's where I'm excited to see Bryce Young, and I'm excited to see what Frank Reich does around him. Do I have questions? Yeah. You know my questions. When the pocket collapses, there's not a lot of really big-time awesome throws, right? There's not a lot of big-time tight window power throws.

Oh wait, pocket, people around me. There's a guy down the right sideline. I got to throw a laser back shoulder, even though he's covered and put it in the right spot. You're not going to get that from him on a consistent basis. So that's where he's 38, but I'm excited about him. And, of course, he's got a lot of talent and knows how to play ball, and that's why they picked him number one.

- Yeah. I mean, look, they made the projection, and they got a lot more eggs in the basket than we do. They believe in him, and I think the ability to throw through and around the-- not literally through-- through the lanes by trying the offensive and defensive linemen, and also the understanding-- and this is something Scott Fitterer, the GM of the Panthers, said a couple of weeks ago, understanding when to get rid of the football, understanding not to hold on to the ball and take that big hit.


- Right.

- And know when to get rid of it so you avoid that big hit. So yeah, the ball's out and you still took the hit. You have to get to the point where you can minimize the impact that you take.

- Yeah.

- Next up, you got him high. You got higher. You got him higher than the guy that was taken first overall. The second overall pick in the draft, number 37 on the Chris Simms' top 40 quarterback countdown, Ohio State's now Houston Texans' CJ Stroud.

- Yeah. Mike, I mean, you know I'm a huge fan of CJ Stroud. I really am. I mean, the only thing I could even look at negatively was like, oh, S2 test, right? All that crap, right? I don't know about all that. All I know is what I saw--


- That 14 teams used.

- Yeah, exactly right. It's not foolproof. It's very early.

- What does that tell you.

- Yeah. Exactly. It's very early in the process of knowing the value of that. There's a lot of BS we could throw at that one there. So totally with you. What I know on film is a guy that's made for the NFL. You're talking about a guy playing the pocket, bullseye-thrower, power throws that I talk about that Bryce Young lacked. They're not CJ Stroud. CJ Stroud is one of those guys that, well wait, he's open by 1/2 an inch 45 yards down the field? Don't worry. I can hit the bull's eye on that 1/2 inch. I'll do it.


He's phenomenal that way. He's made for this offense, and I think he's better at some of the things people criticized him for than he gets credit for. He, I thought, was great under pressure. There's some stats out there that, oh, pressure. And there's a lot of context that goes into that.

When people are around him in the pocket and he has to make big throws, he is unaffected by it, let alone I think his athletic ability is better than people give him credit for as well. You know, again, these are guys where, yeah, Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, I think they're better than Desmond Ridder a month from now, two months from now. Before the season starts, they are better.

Will their stats and wins look that way? No, I don't know. There's a reason these two teams pick twice, right? So I understand how it might look at the end of the year, but I would take these guys. And Stroud, Stroud to me has a chance to be really, really special. But hey, it's NFL life. He's got to grow in it, and I think he's made for that Kyle Shanahan, Bobby Slovic offense there, and that's where I'm excited to see what CJ Stroud does.

- I love the CJ Stroud release. It's not quite Dan Marino.


- It's quick as hell, right?

- I was going to say, well, he's got processing. You don't need to process if you can get rid of the ball as quickly as your brain says get rid of the ball. You can have great processing, but if your mechanics are such that you hold on to the ball too long, that's worse than whatever the S2 thing does.

- Exactly right. Exactly right.

- You go out and play football. All right, we're now up to number 36, and this is a guy who went after number 38 and after number 37. He is Anthony Richardson, Colts quarterback, fourth overall pick in the draft, but the one guy when you were doing your quarterback rankings predraft that you used the S-word, "superstar" potential. The Colts saw it. Other teams, I think, saw it and were hoping he'd be there. I think the Seahawks would have taken him at five. Colts got him at four. You got him at 36.


- All right. And I think a lot of people are probably look at first and go, wait, the guy who you had as below Stroud and Young is going to be better in the NFL right now? And I'm going to go yes, I am. Why? Why? Because the other two guys are going to have to do a lot more processing and have things thrown at them.

In the long run, hey, you know me, I'm still betting on CJ Stroud. Year two, year three, year four, sure. Right now this moment, training camp, going into the season I'm going to take Anthony Richardson because of that great running ability. He's going to have less of an adjustment.

They're going to force defenses hands to make the game kind of easy on him in the pass game, like we talked about. That's the advantage he has off the bat where the other guys are going to have to worry about, wait, I got to play a real pocket passing quarterback, and disguises, and different coverages, and, oh my gosh, I got a lot at me.

Anthony Richardson is going to go-- he's going to play teams where it's going to be quarterback power, quarterback power, run it with Jonathan Taylor, read option, right? Read option, back to quarterback power. Defense coordinators are going to go, oh man, we got to get another guy in the box. The coverages are going to be simple off of that. So the adjustment period for him is, I think, going to be less here at first as he grows in these other areas, and that's why I make him 36 in front of the other two guys just because of that aspect of his running and what it'll do for him there.


- How high do you think Anthony Richardson will be on this list next year?

- Oh.

- Give me a guess, just a wild guess. Top 20 by next year?

- Like, the Colts are one of those teams where I don't think any of us look at them as a playoff team, but one of those few teams out there, like Atlanta, or them where I'd go, eh, I would be careful with them. That O-line has a little resurgence. We know he's got Talent. We know he's got a head coach who knows how to use his type of talent, and that defense is good. Yes. I think he could be one of those guys that's, yeah, a big riser next year, and B, if all things go in the right direction, right where you're talking about. Sure.

- The one thing that we cannot discount about the Colts is something that's never going to show up in any analytical analysis of the organization. Although, I'm sure there's some analytics expert out there, somebody that says we have a formula for that too. I think the lift that finally stopping this revolving door of aging quarterbacks who can't get it done, and embracing the future, hitting the reset, what that does psychologically to all your players. It isn't going to make them worse. It's going to make them better, and the Colts will be better than they were last year simply by virtue of the fact that they've gotten off of the where's the next veteran quarterback we can find to come in here and try to reverse our fortune?

- You're right. The value. I like it.

- All right, when we return, ESPN obtained, or maybe was given, a document that if this thing had come out before Daniel Snyder put his name on the bottom line of the sale document, he might not have done it. I'll explain what I'm talking about when "PFT Live" continues right after.