Pro Football Focus released their rankings of the top-50 quarterbacks in FBS competition in the upcoming season on Monday. Anthony Richardson landed on the list, but his placement may come as an unpleasant surprise for Gators fans. The Gators’ signal caller was placed 30th among his peers, which, in other words, is among the bottom 40% of ranked players.
The PFF author who penned this list made it clear up front that pro potential was not taken into consideration. Instead, players were ordered based on how well PFF expects them to perform within their system and conference. The two have a great deal of separation, as demonstrated by Bailey Zappe’s astonishing, record-breaking 2021 season and his subsequent slide to the fifth round of the 2022 draft.
Richardson has broadly been identified as a potential first-round pick in next year’s draft. He’s entering the season with Florida’s starting job in hand, and his athletic abilities inside and outside the picket stand out as some of the best in the nation. The combination thereof, especially with the Gators’ improved receiving group, creates immensely intriguing potential.
However, there’s a great deal of projection involved when visualizing Richardson as a first-round pick. PFF evidently decided that they were uncomfortable with Richardson’s lack of track record.
In the long run, it’s tough to argue in good faith that Richardson will be the 30th most talented quarterback playing in FBS competition. Some of the passers near the beginning of the list — for instance, ninth-ranked Kedon Slovis and sixth-ranked Grayson McCall — already proved they can be good college assets, but they don’t have the physicality to be more than an NFL spot starter.
That reasoning is also reflected in a few of the other SEC quarterbacks who were ranked higher than Richardson: Tennessee‘s Hendon Hooker, Kentucky’s Will Levis, and Oklahoma‘s Dillon Gabriel. Those players are known quantities and will perform well for their school in 2022, but I don’t think there’s a single Florida fan who would trade Richardson for any of those guys.
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