2023 mock NFL Draft: 49ers watch NFC get significantly stronger

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Anthony Richardson, Florida Gators
Anthony Richardson, Florida Gators(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

Anthony Richardson. 29. player. 840. . Quarterback. Gators

2023 NFL Draft,  Pick No. 29: New Orleans Saints – Anthony Richardson, Quarterback, Florida

Jameis Winston is not the answer for the New Orleans Saints. Anthony Richardson is an exceptionally raw talent with a big upside that’s especially hard to figure out. He could go higher if a team that needs a quarterback loves him and reaches, or he can fall hard as Malik Willis did as a third-round pick last year.

The rawness of Richardson is apparent from his stats alone, completing only 54 percent of his passes in 2022 for 2,549 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions while scrambling for 629 yards and nine touchdowns.

Richardson should have returned to Florida to try to develop further as a passer, but the need for quarterbacks prompted him to enter the draft.

The physical tools are all there for a quarterback. He has a cannon for an arm, he can punish defenses on the ground with his legs, and he’s undoubtedly an ideal physical prototype for a quarterback.

But the downsides are all there, too. He’s horribly inaccurate and was only a starter for one year at Florida. He throws the ball very hard, but sometimes too hard for short passes, which makes it hard to hold on. He needs to develop accuracy and touch for the next level, which is a concern because it’s way behind what an early quarterback prospect should be.

If the Saints are patient, they could get somewhere with Richards. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen were considered exceptionally raw talents with similar flaws, which people forget about given the superstars they are today.

If Richardson proves himself coachable, he could develop into a similarly special quarterback.