Is Anthony Richardson a risk worth taking for Commanders?

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Anthony Richardson
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Anthony Richardson /

Could promising quarterback Anthony Richardson be a risk worth taking for the Washington Commanders during the 2023 NFL Draft?

This is smoke and mirrors season, so anything said by coaches or front office personnel has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Nobody is going to give away their plans ahead of free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft, which also stands true for the Washington Commanders heading into an offseason of real importance.

Finishing last in the NFC East last season wasn’t ideal. But the Commanders finished .500 and appear just a few pieces away from being more competitive within a division that sent three teams into the postseason.

Obviously, this all starts with the quarterback. Carson Wentz’s trade from the Indianapolis Colts failed to bring the necessary improvements, so finding an upgrade at some stage is something the team will consider if the price is right.

Commanders could gamble on Anthony Richardson if QB is available

Head coach Ron Rivera also hinted during a recent interview with the NFL Network that the plan right now is having Sam Howell sit atop the depth chart heading into OTAs. Whether this scenario becomes reality or not is another matter.

"“I know this: We will go into OTAs, minicamp and training camp with Sam Howell more than likely QB1, and we’ll see what happens. I mean, it’s his opportunity. This is a challenge to him. If he comes out and does the things that he’s capable of, we believe he’s capable of, he can most certainly be our guy. But we’ll find out. Again, that’s what competition’s gonna do. It’s gonna bring the best out in all our guys.”"

Howell flashed promise briefly during his rookie campaign. Even if the coaching staff was reluctant to put too much on his young shoulders right out of the gate.

Having the former North Carolina star helps. But the temptation to bring in another prospect from the college ranks shouldn’t be ignored entirely despite Rivera’s recent claims.

Picking from No. 16 overall means it’ll be a waiting game for the Commanders. However, if Anthony Richardson somehow makes it down the pecking order, it could change their plans.

Richardson remains a raw prospect, but the upside could be the greatest of any signal-caller in this class. His progress at Florida when tasked with starting responsibilities in 2022 was encouraging, with key areas such as pocket awareness and decision-making progressing nicely to further entice NFL scouts.

One doesn’t have to question Richardson’s ability to generate yards on the run, which is extraordinary. Providing the player takes on coaching and develops his mechanics, he could become a star in no time at all.

Rivera might be intent on giving Howell a shot. But his previous success with a similar quarterback could tip the scales if Richardson’s is still on the board.

Some of Rivera’s most memorable coaching moments came working alongside Cam Newton, which almost brought an elusive first Super Bowl for the Carolina Panthers before faltering in Super Bowl 50.

Richardson isn’t the former NFL MVP – not yet, anyway. There’s also a high chance he could be gone long before it’s time for Washington to make their pick given the quarterback-needy teams in the top 10.

At this stage, nothing can be ruled out. If the Commanders like Richardson enough, then a potential trade-up is another possibility that cannot be overlooked.

It’ll be interesting to see how things play out. But make no mistake, the Commanders must get this next move right at football’s most crucial position.

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