As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers commence evaluating talent at the NFL Combine, raw quarterback prospect Anthony Richardson will go under the microscope.
The Bucs need another quarterback to pair with reported starter Kyle Trask amid Tom Brady‘s retirement and Blaine Gabbert‘s pending departure in free agency. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Richardson is on the Bucs’ radar at the combine in Indianapolis this week.
“Arguably the most intriguing player in the draft because of his high ceiling,” Stroud wrote. “At 6-foot-4, 232 pounds, Richardson has tremendous speed and will put on a show with his arm strength as one of the few quarterbacks who plan to work out at the combine.”
“But he completed only 54.7 percent of his college passes, with 24 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Since they already have Trask, the Bucs could bring Richardson along slowly, though after the combine it seems unlikely he will last until No. 19,” Stroud added.
Richardson is a ‘Rare Athlete’ at QB
Richardson could become one of the more coveted quarterbacks in the draft with a strong performance at the combine. The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, who puts out an annual list of freak athletes in college football, considered Richardson the most athletic quarterback out there along with West Virginia’s Will Levis.
“We never have many quarterbacks on this list, but this is a rare athlete,” Feldman wrote about Richardson. “Richardson is a chiseled 6-4, 238 pounds with just 10 percent body fat and says he has run a 4.4 40 and can throw a football 75 yards. Football insiders eye-balling college quarterbacks at this summer’s Manning Passing Academy were wowed by Richardson’s physical tools, saying he and Kentucky’s Will Levis were well above and beyond every other quarterback there. Richardson cleans 325 pounds and squatted 500 this offseason.”
Florida strength coach Mark Hocke saw Richardson’s physical prowess often.
“Anthony is physically built like an outside linebacker — tall, long, and chiseled out of stone,” Hocke said via Feldman. “Has the athleticism [speed and agility] and bounce [plays above the rim] of a running back/wide receiver combined with a Jugs machine for an arm.”
Bucs are Fifth-Most Likely Team to Land Richardson
If Richardson’s draft stock climbs after the combine, the Bucs’ chances to land Richardson dwindle unless the team trades up. NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein pegged the Bucs at fifth among potential suitors for Richardson.
“While Tampa Bay should certainly be a team mentioned as a potential fit for Richardson, I’m not sure he will last all the way to the Bucs’ draft slot,” Zierlein wrote. “They could trade up, but they might just sit tight, rebuild and wait until next year to draft a quarterback, if need be.”
Zierlein projects Richardson could land as high as No. 9 to the Bucs’ NFC South rival Carolina Panthers. The Bucs had trouble with the Panthers last season, splitting two games, against quarterbacks named P.J. Walker and Sam Darnold.
Tampa Bay trading up isn’t out of the question. Two recent mock drafts have the Bucs trading up. CBS Sports proposed the Bucs will trade up for the No. 8 pick and take Levis. USA Today’s “Draft Wire” had the Bucs moving up to No. 12 to acquire Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez.
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