Matt Waldman’s RSP Film Room: QB Anthony Richardson (Florida) the Underrated Pocket Manager and Field General

Matt Waldman’s RSP Film Room examines 2023 NFL Draft prospect, Anthony Richardson, a big-armed, big-bodied quarterback who should be celebrated more for his pocket management, manipulation of coverage, and quick processing of information.

Is Anthony Richardson NFL-Ready?

Anthony Richardson is a polarizing prospect in the NFL Draft community. I do my best not to spend much time listening to what others have to say at this point of the year, but from what little I’ve gathered, the draft public loves his arm, big frame, running ability, and upper-body mechanics.

They’re scared of his decision-making and footwork. They see moments of impulsive decision-making and wonder aloud about Richardson’s readiness to lead an NFL offense in 2023. They fear if Richardson doesn’t earn a quarterback-friendly head coach, the NFL could grind him up and spit him out by 2025.

Most early-round quarterbacks need a staff that will work with their strengths and minimizes demands that play into the passer’s weaknesses. The contrast in coaching styles and offensive planning of Mike McDaniel and Brian Flores illustrates the differences in Tua Tagovailoa’s production.

You could see the promise in Tagovailoa’s game during his initial NFL starts despite the hand-wringing from fans and film analysts who panned the first-round prospect. They lacked perspective.

Richardson, like all early-round quarterback prospects, has flaws. Some of those flaws are overstated and it has led the public to question Richardson’s readiness. While I have more to watch, the simple answer to his readiness is yes.

Richardson’s Conceptual Feel for the Game Is Underrated

I’m going to do multiple RSP Film Rooms on Richardson’s game this year. After studying him against Georgia, LSU, and Tennessee, it’s clear that Richardson has the baseline tools of a strong pocket manager and a cunning field general.

Yes, Richardson has made impulsive-untimely mistakes. Certainly, there can be added weight to certain mistakes, but we tend to overrate the value, penalizing prospects too harshly.

Part of the problem is that evaluators can be guilty of watching these moments more as fans and adding a narrative to the flaw based on the setting of the mistake. The list of quarterbacks labeled clutch players and choke artists at various points of their careers is too long to mention.

From what I’ve seen of Richardson, he’s skilled at manipulating defenders both in and outside the pocket. He also processes many complex scenarios efficiently and hasn’t earned enough praise for doing so.

This week’s RSP Film Room profiles 20 minutes of plays that highlight Richardson’s pocket and field marshall skills — the two facets of quarterbacking that are the most difficult to teach once players reach this level of play.

If we’re going to learn from Josh Allen, Cam Newton, Matt Stafford, or even go as far back as Steve McNair, we must recognize the skills that quarterbacks must have in strong supply before joining the NFL that serve as a foundation for additional growth at the position. It’s not just about the coach or system.

Yes, the system can be a huge factor, but if the quarterback processes defenses at a solid game speed and has legitimate pocket management skills, his growth potential will be more resilient to the environment around him. It’s not a guarantee, but it is an additional layer of value.

Richardson has that layer to his game.

And of course, if you want to know about the rookies from this draft class, you will find the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), with the 2023 Rookie Scouting Portfolio for $21.95.

There’s an early-bird discount period running from December 1-22 to pre-order it for $19.95 

Matt’s new RSP Dynasty Rankings and Two-Year Projections Package is available for $24.95

If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2022 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.  

If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2022 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.  

Best yet, proceeds from sales are set aside for a year-end donation to Darkness to Light to combat the sexual abuse of children. 

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