Much of the pre-draft protection on Florida QB prospect Anthony Richardson has centered round his extremely excessive ceiling and pegged him as a boom-or-bust choose. Sky’s the restrict, however, there are purple flags.
The logic appears fairly sound. He blew up the mix with a QB file 40.5-inch vertical and 10-foot, 9-inch broad soar, whereas working a 4.43 40-yard sprint with a physique (6-foot-4, 244 kilos) that extra intently resembles Derrick Henry. He can break a long term at any time or launch the ball 75 yards by way of the air.
On the flip facet, his general lack of expertise and accuracy points are issues. His 13 profession begins in faculty would match Mitchell Trubisky for the fewest by a QB drafted within the first spherical since 2000. His 24 profession landing passes can be the fewest by a first-round QB since Michael Vick (drafted first general in 2001). The final first-round QB with a university completion price as little as Richardson’s (54.7) was Jake Locker (54.0 — eighth general choose in 2011).
But what if Richardson truly has the very best ground AND ceiling of any QB prospect on this yr’s draft? The latest historical past of high-drafted QB prospects who have been elite rushers recommend that Richardson truly might have the next ground than you suppose.
In case his dashing prowess is in query, he ran for 654 yards in 12 begins final season (54.5 dashing yards per recreation) whereas main all FBS quarterbacks with 6.3 yards per rush. He confirmed off his capacity at Florida with performs like this:
He’s surely an elite rusher. So I appeared on the 66 QBs drafted within the first spherical since 2000, splitting them into three classes. Elite rushers, the center and statues. I selected 18 elite rushers based mostly on rating the QBs by way of most dashing yards per recreation in a season of their faculty careers, with Lamar Jackson on the high (123.2 dashing yards per recreation) and Josh Allen on the backside of the elite rusher listing (37.4 dashing yards per recreation).
Here’s the complete listing. Lamar Jackson. Johnny Manziel, Cam Newton, Vince Young, Jake Locker, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray, Robert Griffin III, Tim Tebow, Trey Lance, Michael Vick, Marcus Mariota, Alex Smith, Justin Fields, Carson Wentz, Daniel Jones, Trevor Lawrence and Josh Allen. It’s not good (Carson Wentz at North Dakota State is the one massive outlier) however largely captures QBs with a dashing profile like Richardson, with a sufficiently big pattern measurement to attract some conclusions.
There was a transparent drop off between the underside of the elite rushers listing — Josh Allen — and the center class, that includes QBs like Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger. They have been recognized to make performs with their legs, however I would not name them elite working QBs. Then there’s the statues. QBs like Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, Carson Palmer and firm.
To decide their flooring within the NFL, I used anticipated factors added per dropback (EPA per dropback), a per-play effectivity measure which takes into consideration a QBs affect as a passer and rusher.
Here’s an thought of what a superb or unhealthy mark is for EPA per dropback. Josh Allen recorded a 0.19 mark in 2022 (second in NFL). Kenny Pickett was at -0.02 (twenty third in NFL) and Zach Wilson was one of many decrease totals at -0.14 (thirty second in NFL).
Among the 18 elite dashing QB prospects drafted within the first spherical since 2000, solely 4 had a unfavorable EPA per dropback price for his or her NFL careers. None had a price under -0.1. The price of QBs within the different two classes (the center, statues) to fall into these buckets was a lot greater. For instance, 15 of the 26 statues had a unfavorable EPA per dropback of their careers.
NFL careers of QBs drafted in first spherical since 2000
< -0.1 EPA/dropback
> 0.1 EPA/dropback
The common EPA per dropback of those teams have been very related, however this knowledge reveals the ground of the elite rushers is greater. This passes the attention take a look at, too. If you take a look at the listing of 18 elite rushers above, actually solely Johnny Manziel and Tim Tebow have been true busts, whereas Vince Young and Jake Locker might most likely be lumped into that class as nicely. That’s not unhealthy after we’re speaking about 18 QBs given how risky drafting that place within the first spherical could be.
Most assume Richardson will want time to develop and be taught behind a veteran QB. That could also be true, however this knowledge additionally helps the notion that Richardson’s dashing capacity might reduce the educational curve that comes together with his inexperience and accuracy points. It supplies him with the next ground. He can nonetheless make performs together with his legs at the same time as he goes by way of rising pains in different areas.
I appeared on the EPA per dropback for the three above teams for his or her first two seasons within the NFL when QBs can expertise essentially the most rising pains. One-third of the 18 elite rushers had a unfavorable EPA per dropback of their first two seasons. It’s practically 50 p.c for the center and over two-thirds for the statues.
This is fairly telling, too: Only one of many 18 elite rushers had a EPA per dropback under -0.1 of their first two seasons (Alex Smith). Nine of the 26 statues fell under that threshold, exhibiting that QBs who’re massive dashing threats have a a lot greater ground than QBs with no mobility early of their careers.
First two NFL seasons amongst QBs drafted in Round 1 since 2000
< -0.1 EPA/dropback
> 0.1 EPA/dropback
Still, you’ll be able to’t take the info all in a vacuum. After all, as I discussed off the highest, Richardson’s inexperience (13 faculty begins) and accuracy (54.7 completion price) are main outliers. The potential excessive ceiling Richardson possesses might rely upon his capacity to enhance his accuracy.
So the query is, how a lot can QBs enhance their accuracy? Of the 9 first-round QBs drafted since 2000 with the bottom completion charges in faculty, all elevated their percentages within the NFL. Five of the 9 elevated their completion charges by roughly 5 p.c (or extra), together with the likes of Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson. A 5 p.c improve would depart Richardson round 60 p.c, or the identical price Cam Newton posted when he received MVP in 2015. Still among the many worst within the league, however a lot ok to be efficient coupled together with his big-play capacity.
Lowest comp pct in faculty amongst first-round QBs since 2000
Comp Pct improve in NFL
So it would be straightforward to imagine a polarizing prospect like Richardson must be described as increase or bust, however the knowledge reveals it is time to take into account altering our thought course of. Richardson may even have the next ground. Plus, it might proceed to rise in an age of dual-threat QBs the place groups are constructing their offenses extra successfully round these QBs. Not to say, there’s a precedent for QBs like Richardson bettering their accuracy considerably within the execs.
Add all of it up and the QB many would say is the riskiest on the high of the draft, might be a lot safer than marketed.
Leave a Reply