Now that the Tennessee Titans have locked up Jeffery Simmons, fans have fully shifted their attention to the 2023 NFL Draft and the future of this franchise.
With the draft less than a month away, the hype is starting to build around this year’s QB class.
The Tennessee Titans haven’t really had to focus on drafting a quarterback in a while since they have been layering winning season on top of winning season. However, a seven-game losing streak to end the year means that Mike Vrabel and the Titans have the 11th pick in the draft, and fans are getting excited by the potential of obtaining their new franchise quarterback.
Looking ahead, it appears Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud are the favorites to be selected with the first two picks barring any unforeseen moves. However, the picture becomes much less predictable, and much more interesting, at pick number three.
That pick belongs to the Arizona Cardinals, who do not have a need at quarterback, so it is very likely that they will attempt to trade back later into the first round and accumulate more draft capital. This means that it will be a bidding war for the third-best quarterback in the draft, whether that means Florida’s Anthony Richardson or Kentucky’s Will Levis.
Between the two, Richardson seems to be the better prospect, and the Tennessee Titans have actually gotten quite a bit of buzz with this pick.
In fact, Daniel Jeremiah from NFL Network even stated,
"“They are doing their homework and due diligence… I was talking to a couple GMs and they said don’t sleep on [the Titans] moving up.”"
Is Anthony Richardson worth what it would cost the Tennessee Titans?
There’s a lot to unpack in order to answer this question.
There’s no doubt that Richardson is a polarizing pick; he serves as a classic example of “the lottery ticket quarterback.” Similar to other quarterbacks like Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Lamar Jackson, Richardson oozes talent and is a physical marvel, but his actual quarterbacking play is unrefined at best. It’s very difficult to accurately predict whether or not this type of prospect will pan out, hence the name.
Aside from just his overall athleticism, Richardson excels at the scramble drill and has the straight-line speed and elusiveness of an elite NFL wideout. Pair that with the cannon strapped to his right shoulder and offensive coordinators everywhere will be foaming at the mouth about his unlimited potential.
Under Billy Napier’s offense at Florida, Richardson operated a more advanced collegiate scheme with NFL-caliber route combinations and required pre-snap coverage reads. While he at times missed reads and misunderstood coverages, his experience and ability to operate this offense at some level bode well for his NFL development.
One major issue with Richardson’s draft profile, though, is that he simply doesn’t have enough reps. Having only started last season for the Gators, he hasn’t had the time to form good instincts in the pocket like most other quarterbacks that declare for the NFL Draft.
The other glaring issue with Richardson is his blatant inaccuracy. Occasionally he flashes off his arm with beautiful deep ball rainbows and zips passes into tight windows, but his overall precision on any given play certainly needs a lot of work.
Also, something interesting about Richardson as a prospect that I noticed when watching his film is that he doesn’t use the laces on the football. I’m not sure if this affects anything, and it isn’t really a knock on his profile at all because I guess it works for him, but not using the laces could be causing some of his accuracy issues.
Richardson overall has the potential, if in the right situation, to become an absolutely game-breaking quarterback. However, he comes with a high risk, and will certainly take at least a full season to develop.
The Tennessee Titans do provide a situation, under Tannehill, where Richardson could acclimate himself to the NFL while sitting for a season. However, the Titans would likely have to trade or cut Malik Willis, and his projected value is essentially a late-round pick swap.
Regardless of all of the questions about the current roster, the Idea of Richardson in a Titans offense just makes too much sense. If he becomes the player he has the potential to be, Richardson’s athleticism alone adds an entirely new dimension to the Tennessee Titans, creating what would certainly be one of the most potent rushing attacks in the league.
With Tannehill’s remaining time as a Titan unquestionably limited, Anthony Richardson could present the potential opportunity to become the quarterback of the future in Tennessee. Only time will tell whether or not Ran Carthon deems that chance as worth the investment of multiple first-round picks in the upcoming draft.