Anthony Richardson draft hype gets bucket of ice water poured on it

Florida QB Anthony Richardson had a ton of hype after the Combine but the rumors about him going No. 1 might be completely overblown. 

With what Florida Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson did at the NFL Combine this past weekend, it was only a matter of time before the hype around the uber-athletic signal-caller reached a fever pitch. Sure enough, that happened.

There were reports throughout Monday and Tuesday immediately after the trip to Indianapolis that Richardson could potentially be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Even with his 4.43-second 40-yard dash at 6-foot-4, 244 pounds along with a 40.5-inch vertical and 10-foot-9 broad jump, that would be shocking.

It might also be just a lot of hot air.

NFL Draft analyst Lance Zierlein replied to a fan on Twitter when asked about rumors that Richardson had crushed the interviews at the draft, which fed into the buzz about him going No. 1. But that reply was like a dunk tank filled to the brim with ice water being poured on the draft hype.

NFL Draft rumors: Anthony Richardson ‘shocked’ teams in a bad way in interviews at Combine

Not only did Zierlein not confirm that Anthony Richardson wowed in interviews at the NFL Combine, but he went as far as to say that The Athletic’s Dane Brugler heard — as he said on a podcast recorded together — that the Florida quarterback shocked teams with how far behind he was from a “football standpoint”.

That seems notable.

It’s also not at all surprising. Yes, Richardson is a unicorn physically. Players of his size don’t typically possess the combination of freakish speed, explosiveness and overall athleticism while also having a full-blown cannon connected at the shoulder. Richardson does, though. Yet, when you turn on the tape, the player is clearly a project.

Between his bouts with inaccuracy to all levels of the field and perplexing decision-making, it’s abundantly clear that Richardson only started one full season at Florida and, frankly, the results from that one year weren’t all that impressive overall.

Make no mistake, Anthony Richardson is a worthwhile project. Players with his tools are exceptionally rare and, with the right development, his ceiling is astronomically high. But before we start getting ready to pencil him into the No. 1 pick to whichever team trades with the Bears, we might need to pump the brakes and believe Zierlein about where Richardson is as a quarterback mentally.

Because when you watch the film, it tracks.

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