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2023 NFL Combine Quarterback Recap: Florida's Anthony Richardson Wants To 'Be A Legend'

Richardson started only 13 games at Florida and pushed back on being labeled a "project" during his NFL Combine press conference on Friday. 

Some context for Anthony Richardson's measurements and athletic testing numbers from the NFL Combine over the weekend:

  • His 4.43 second 40-yard dash was the fourth fastest by a quarterback since 2000.
  • But: Richardson running that fast at 6-foot-4, 244 pounds was unprecedented. The other three quarterbacks to run that fast: Robert Griffin III (6-foot-2, 223 pounds; 4.33 40-yard dash), Reggie McNeal (6-foot-2, 198 pounds; 4.40 40-yard dash) and Michael Vick (6-foot, 210 pounds; 4.33 40-yard dash)
  • In fact, Richardson was only the 12th player to weigh at least 244 pounds and run a sub- 4.44 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine since 2000. A sampling of those 11 other players: Von Miller, Micah Parsons, Bruce Irvin, Vernon Davis.
  • Davis' athletic testing numbers are a decent comparison for Richardson. Davis, before he was picked sixth overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2006 NFL Draft, ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at 6-foot-3, 254 pounds; he also had a 42-inch vertical (Richardson: 40.5) and 128-inch broad jump (Richardson: 129).
  • Davis, of course, was a tight end. Richardson is a quarterback.

The first guy Richardson grew up modeling his game after – Cam Newton – checked in at the 2011 NFL Combine at 6-foot-5, 248 pounds; he ran a 4.56 40-yard dash, had a 35-inch vertical and 126-inch broad jump. The second guy – Lamar Jackson – didn't test at the 2018 NFL Combine, but in all likelihood would've tested well.

"Growing up it was always Cam Newton for me," Richardson said. "But then when I got to high school, just seeing how dynamic Lamar was. I tried to implement both of those guys in my life. I started calling myself Cam Jackson in 11th grade, just trying to make big plays. Just Cam Newton and Lamar Jackson."

Richardson made plenty of big plays at Florida – he had nine passing touchdowns of 40 or more yards (including four of 70 or more yards) and five rushing touchdowns of 40 or more yards (including 80- and 81-yarders).

"I feel like I had the strongest arm that I've ever been around," Gators wide receiver Justin Shorter, who was on the receiving end of 51- and 75-yard touchdowns from Richardson in 2022, said at the NFL Combine.

Shorter also described Richardson as "very, very smart" and as someone possessing the right mentality to be an NFL quarterback. Richardson on Friday acknowledged his low completion percentage at Florida – 53.8 percent – while explaining what he's working on to improve his accuracy through the pre-draft process.

"Using my hips," Richardson said. "A lot of people say I have a big arm and I do believe so. But you can't just muscle the ball around all the time, because that's not going to work. You've got to be tuned up. You've got to be tuned in with your mechanics and using my hips, that definitely helped me out a lot."

Still, Richardson's lack of experience (13 starts) and low collegiate completion percentage have led plenty of folks to label him a "project." That's a descriptor on which Richardson pushed back last week.

"I don't even know what that means, 'project label.' But I'm willing to bring anything and everything that they need from me," Richardson said. "I'm going to work hard. I'm going to be dedicated to my craft. And I'm just going to be a leader in that organization. So just grow and continue to grow."

Project or not, Richardson last week was asked about his ambitions for his NFL career – wherever he winds up getting drafted.

"I see myself, you know, I want to be a legend," Richardson said. "I want to be like Patrick Mahomes. I want to be like Tom Brady. I want to be one of the greats. I will be one of the greats, because I'm willing to work that hard and get to that point. And so, to answer that question, I feel like I'm going to be one of the greats in the next few years."

Quarterback prospects from the 2023 draft class took the podium on Day 2 of the NFL Scouting Combine.

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