Anthony Richardson the subsequent Josh Allen? Draft skilled weighs in

The Carolina Panthers weren’t going to attend round for a quarterback to fall to them within the NFL draft.

With free company beginning this week and a few seasoned passers in play, the Panthers have opted to start out recent with a rookie. They struck a cope with the Chicago Bears on Friday, buying and selling as much as the No. 1 spot in subsequent month’s draft to seize a top-tier quarterback prospect.

The large query: Which quarterback will it’s?

The common consensus is the highest 4 include Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson, though that pecking order is within the eye of the beholder.

Several groups are in want on the place, and there’s prone to be a recreation of musical quarterbacks involving such family names as Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Garoppolo, Baker Mayfield and possibly Lamar Jackson, though the most certainly situation has him returning to the Baltimore Ravens.

In phrases of the rookies-to-be, broadly revered quarterback evaluator Greg Cosell has taken a tough have a look at all of them. Cosell doesn’t work for a selected staff — he has been at NFL Films for 43 years — however is in fixed communications with scouts, common managers and coaches who steadily ask for his observations and opinions.

As he has accomplished in years previous, Cosell opened his pocket book for the Los Angeles Times and detailed what he likes and doesn’t like in regards to the quarterbacks who determine to be chosen at or close to the highest of the draft.

He started with the 6-foot-4, 244-pound Richardson, who ran a scorching 4.43-second 40-yard sprint and set a contemporary mix report for quarterbacks within the vertical leap (40½ inches) and tied the trendy mark within the broad bounce (10-9). He’s a bodily specimen who has been in comparison with Cam Newton, who was taken first total by the Panthers in 2011.

Richardson was the full-time starter for one 12 months at Florida, throwing for 17 touchdowns — he ran for 9 extra — with 9 interceptions and a ho-hum completion charge of 53.8%.

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“We’ve reached a point — and I disagree with this — where people say a quarterback has ‘great traits’ because he can throw it hard and run fast,” mentioned Cosell, producer and analyst on ESPN’s “NFL Matchup.”

“If you talk to quarterback coaches, those two things would not be at the top of their list. They would talk about the more fine, subtle, nuanced traits of someone like a Joe Burrow [of the Cincinnati Bengals]. Being able to throw a ball through a wall and running fast, hey, that’s fine. They’re not saying that’s bad, but it’s not the definition of great quarterback traits.

“Richardson might become a great player — we all hope he does — but at this point there’s no real nuance to his game and he’s markedly inaccurate. His ball placement is so erratic and inconsistent you just don’t know. He misses many easy throws.”

Then once more, the identical was mentioned of Josh Allen when he was popping out of Wyoming in 2018. His profession completion charge there was 56.2%, but he has flourished since Buffalo chosen him with the seventh choose. He has accomplished 62.5% of his passes within the NFL and is thought to be one of many league’s finest quarterbacks.

“I spoke to a coach about Josh Allen and he said, ‘Hey, I knew he had a lot of issues coming out of Wyoming, but then I spent a half-hour with him and I came away knowing that he was going to be a great player just because of the kid,’” Cosell mentioned.

“Josh Allen has a certain mentality, just like [Philadelphia’s] Jalen Hurts has a certain mentality. That’s what you hope for. If Anthony Richardson has that mentality, maybe he gets there. And in four years we may be talking about one of the great quarterbacks in the league, just like we do with Josh Allen.”

Cosell mentioned there are parts of Young’s recreation that really set him aside.

“He has unbelievable spatial awareness,” he mentioned of the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner. “He’s phenomenal at navigating bodies and space, and he has a great feel for where people are. He’s not a big-armed kid. He’s not a power thrower in any sense of the imagination, but he finds space to make throws.”

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Perhaps most spectacular? The area between his ears.

“He’s really intelligent,” Cosell mentioned. “He’s a kid who will step right in wherever he’s drafted and he will learn that offense and be able to play on Day 1 with a very defined, clear understanding of the offense. He’s that kid.”

The knock on Young is his measurement. He was measured on the mix as 5-10 and 204 kilos, however he’s believed to play at a significantly lighter weight.

“I was told by someone who knows that he played in the national championship game a year ago at 169 pounds,” Cosell mentioned. “We’ve accepted outliers in height, but those guys are 210 and solid. [Arizona’s] Kyler Murray is solid, and so is [Denver’s] Russell Wilson. Bryce Young is not going to weigh 210.

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy in 2021, but NFL scouts took note of his size — 5-foot-10 and 204 pounds — as a drawback for pro potential.

(Vasha Hunt / Associated Press)

“People say, ‘He’s been small all his life.’ Well, yes, he has. His game is tailored to compensate for that because of his great spatial awareness and his ability to feel and see. But you’re still playing at the highest level with bigger bodies and faster athletes.”

Of the highest 4 quarterbacks, it’s Ohio State’s Stroud who has the traditional mixture of measurement — 6-3, 214 kilos — and passing accuracy.

“He’s a natural thrower of the football,” Cosell mentioned. “He’s predominantly a pocket player. We saw in the [CFP semifinal] game against Georgia that he did move around and make throws that a lot of people were uncertain he could make.

“He’s got the ability to throw with pace and touch, to make those throws that need to be layered and feathered. That’s being a passer. Being a passer is not throwing the ball through a wall. He makes the right kind of throws to the right receivers at the right times. Not every throw is a bullet. He throws easy. He doesn’t have a gun, but he can make every throw.”

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The approach Cosell sees it, essentially the most important draw back of Stroud are parts which might be past his management.

“There will be people — and it’s probably valid — who will question the Ohio State part,” Cosell mentioned. “Because at Ohio State, for the most part, you’re in clean and secure pockets. Not a lot of contested pockets. Receivers are open and you can play comfortably. We’ve seen Ohio State quarterbacks get to the league and struggle a little bit.”

As for Levis, Cosell likes what he noticed from him in 2021 far more than final season. That’s when Levis was enjoying below Liam Coen, Kentucky’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach who left to change into offensive coordinator of the Rams final season. Coen since has returned to renew his outdated job at Kentucky.

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis throws a pass.

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis throws a cross throughout a recreation final season, when the Wildcats struggled due to accidents.

(L.G. Patterson / Associated Press)

“Levis can play with rhythm, with timing,” Cosell mentioned. “He’s got a compact, effortless, twitchy delivery. The ball comes out. And he looked very comfortable and smooth in 2021.

“In 2022, with a new offensive coordinator, an offensive line that wasn’t very good, injuries at wide receiver, it was just a struggle all season. Levis did not look comfortable, … But the traits don’t change, and he has pretty high-level traits.

“He’s a little stiff in his lower body. He does not have great pocket movement and that’s something he needs to work on. You can run designed runs with him because he’s big, physical and competitive. But he’s not necessarily a second-reaction player from the pocket.”

Are there plenty of good quarterback prospects this 12 months, or simply plenty of groups that want quarterbacks and are poised to take them early within the draft?

“More the latter,” Cosell mentioned. “I don’t think there’s a quarterback in this draft that you would say is transcendent or special. I think they all possess certain things that you feel good about and feel you can coach and develop. Then the hope is that they get there.”