Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson said his decision in the NFL — along with others in his position — was personal, unique and empowering for everyone involved.
“It could be tough,” Richardson said this week. “It could bring a lot of pressure on a person. But it’s honestly up to them and their judgment and what they want to do regarding their future.
The Gators star is on the clock to decide his next step as the regular season wrapped up Friday night at Florida State.
Richardson and some of his teammates, including guard O’Cyrus Torrence and defensive tackle Gervon Dexter, have generated NFL Draft buzz and could leave early. The same goes for Florida State defensive end Jared Verse, free safety Jammie Robinson, quarterback Jordan Travis and 6-foot-7 wide receiver Johnny Wilson.
None have come close to generating the intense speculation and scrutiny surrounding Richardson, who at 6-foot-4, 232 pounds boasts wide receiver speed, running back vision and the ability to effortlessly throw a soccer ball 75 yards.
Richardson’s skill set has sparked considerable interest and curiosity while putting him under the microscope where his bouts of vagueness, shaky decision-making and occasional indecision as a racer are magnified.
Walter Football, a respected NFL draft website, projected Richardson as the No. 3 pick after Utah’s game, but was out of it in the second round. The redshirt second entered the FSU game completing 55.7% of his throws, with 14 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, but also rushed for 613 yards and 9 scores in 11 games.
Richardson would surely impress at the NFL Scouting Combine, but also made his 13th career start on Friday night and could benefit from more seasoning and experience.
A weighty decision awaits us.
An easier one might wait for Verse, who Walter Football projects as the No. 15 pick. The 6-foot-4, 251-pound redshirt sophomore is tied for the ACC lead with 15 tackles for loss and second with 7.5 sacks despite missing time due to a knee injury.
Torrence, at Walter Football’s No. 55, is the only Gator in the first two rounds, while Robinson is considered the No. 57 selection.
The 6-foot-5, 347-pound Torrence, a fourth-year junior, anchors a running game averaging 209.3 yards, third in the SEC. Robinson is a versatile redshirt junior who can line up at free safety, against the slot receiver or in the box. He leads the team with 76 tackles and is second in 4 pass breakups and 4 quarterback rushes.
Dexter, a 6-foot-6, 312-pound junior, has intriguing potential and solid production — 48 tackles, including 3 sacks while facing a consistent double team.
Wilson has 649 receiving yards on 33 catches (19.7 average) and 5 scores. Travis has 21 touchdown throws and just 4 picks while making 65.3% of his throws, but he’s 6-foot-1 and 201 pounds without Richardson’s height or cap.
Even so, the 20-year-old’s future in the NFL is as uncertain as most in his position.
“They have to have a lot of discussions with their family and consider everything that’s happened,” Richardson said. “Sometimes you have to be selfish and see what’s on the table.”
Matt Murschel contributed to this story.