HOUSTON – University of Florida star quarterback Anthony Richardson excelled at the S2 sports science cognitive testing, “knocking it out of the park,” according to a league source.
The test evaluates cognitive abilities in game situations, gauging athletes’ ability to anticipate, read and react.
The highest scorer this year is Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, according to a source.
The increasingly popular test lasts between 30 and 45 minutes on a specialized laptop computer and measures how “they process and make split-second decisions in their sport.” One example is a screen with multiple shapes popping up and then identifying the different shape quickly. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy scored in the mid-90s last year, and Young scored a 98 this year, per a source. Another high-scoring quarterback prospect, per a source: Kentucky standout Will Levis.
Richardson is one of the most intriguing draft prospects at 6-foot-4, 244 pounds.
At the NFL scouting combine, Richardson aced the combine testing. He ranked first in every category, including height and weight and with a scorching 4.43 40-yard dash, 40 1/2 inch vertical leap and a 10-9 broad jump. Yes, that’s faster than former Gators quarterbacks Cam Newton and Tim Tebow when they were at the combine. And the vertical leap and 40-yard dash are combine records for a quarterback.
Richardson visited the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, per a league source, followed by visits April 16 with the Tennessee Titans, the Atlanta Falcons on April 17-18 and the Baltimore Ravens on April 19 after previously visiting the Las Vegas Raiders and Carolina Panthers, according to a league source.
Richardson hasn’t been scheduled for a visit or a private workout with the Texans, but has interacted with the AFC South franchise on Zoom meetings and a formal meeting at the combine, per a source.
“I don’t even know what that means, ‘project label,’” Richardson said at the combine when a reporter was critical of his game. “But I’m willing to bring anything and everything that they need from me. 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.”
Richardson is one of the fastest-rising players. He could even wind up being the second quarterback selected.
He did note that his receivers dropped some throws last season, saying: “I can’t also catch every pass.”
Richardson, 21, passed for 2,549 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season for the Gators. He completed just 53.8 percent of his passes. His talent, though, is incredible. With NFL coaching, perhaps Richardson can become a great quarterback like his idol and frequent comparison, Cam Newton.
Richardson is an intriguing player with a rare combination of size, arm strength and playmaking skills. He rushed for 1,116 yards and a dozen touchdowns.
“I want to be a legend,” Richardson said. “I want to be be like Patrick Mahomes, I want to be like Tom Brady. I wanna be one of the greats, you know, I will be one of the greats because I’m willing to work that hard and get to that point.”
At his size, he most closely resembles Newton, a former NFL MVP.
“You know, growing up, it was always Cam Newton for me,” Richardson said. “So a lot of people say Cam and I believe it is Cam.”
Richardson is diligently working on his fundamentals. He’s been honing his skills with a private quarterback coach.
“When it comes to touch, if you watch my film, I definitely can add some touch to this schemes,” Richardson said. “It’s just growing up, I’ve had a lot of people telling me I’m throwing it too hard. So, when I’m trying to lighten up, it’s not as accurate as I want it to be. So, I don’t care if somebody’s complaining about I’m throwing it hard. They better catch it.”
Richardson is popular at the combine with multiple meetings, including the Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders and New York Giants, according to league sources.
That project label didn’t throw Richardson off his game at the podium.
He kept it moving and maintained his poise. He was very comfortable talking with reporters.
“You know, my guy right there said I’m a project,” Richardson said while looking at the reporter who labeled him as such. “So, I guess teams already know that I have room to grow, so they see sparks in me. I see them myself as well. So, I don’t have to talk about experience with them because they watch the tape, and they know I’ve been playing football for a while. You know, it’s just a matter of what level I’ve been playing on. So, I think I’m ready. I know I’m ready. They’ll get that from me.”
Many NFL general managers have emphasized privately that Richardson has the highest ceiling of perhaps any quarterback in this draft and the lowest floor level.
Growing up in Gainesville, Fla., Richardson stayed home to play for the Gators after passing for 4,633 yards in high school with 37 touchdown passes, 1,633 yards and 41 touchdowns.
“We can look at the numbers, it doesn’t look great on paper,” Jeremiah said. “ou look at the accuracy and this, that, and the other; and he has elite, elite arm strength. He is a rare athlete. You don’t see quarterbacks running away from LSU with 80-yard touchdown runs. He has big-time, big-time ceiling, big-time ability.
“If you want to fall in love with Anthony Richardson, you pop on Utah and you think he is the first pick in the draft. Even Missouri he made some big-time plays in that game. I know it’s a little bit of a roller coaster. I know he hasn’t played a ton, but teams are starting to look at some of these quarterbacks as lottery tickets, and this one has the biggest pay-out. That’s why I think you’re going to see Richardson go pretty high.”
Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.