Florida QB's Rising Draft Stock Benefits Birds
Anthony Richardson, a polarizing former college quarterback prospect, could have major influence on the Philadelphia Eagles’ first-round pick.Not because the Eagles have eyes on the former University of Florida star. They’ve made no secret about their desire to lock up Jalen Hurts.
But Richardson, once viewed as raw and developmental, entered the NFL Scouting Combine this week as a potential early first-round pick, according to NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah.
Jeremiah insisted Richardson would be drafted higher than many anticipate.
“Making calls just around the league, the best way to do the quarterback conversation is talk to the teams that don’t need one, and then you’ll get kind of an accurate feel just how they evaluate him and what they think,” Jeremiah said last week in his pre-Combine virtual sessions with reporters. “Anthony Richardson is the second quarterback for several teams that I talked to.
“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 payout. That’s why I think you’re going to see Richardson go pretty high.”
This, of course, is a scenario the Eagles would welcome. They pick 1oth overall and aren’t in the market for a quarterback.
Three other quarterbacks – Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis – are also projected top-10 picks.
If four quarterbacks are taken in the top 10, that leave six prospects at other positions – prospects who could potentially be rated higher overall than those quarterbacks – who could be pushed down to No. 10.
“I think there are a lot of good quarterbacks,” said Howie Roseman, Eagles executive vice president of football operations. “It’s a quarterback league, and so our assumption is these talented guys – we’re not in that market, so hopefully they all go, to be honest with you – but they’re talented enough to go.
“We do our work on them just like we do our work on every player in the draft. These are talented guys at the top of the draft, and I think there will be a lot of competition for them.”
The Eagles more likely are in the market for a defensive lineman or cornerback, positions where they stand to suffer some major loses in free agency, and positions they typically value higher in the draft.
Offensive line could also be on their radar, with All Pro right tackle Lane Johnson turning 33 in May and coming off a surgery to repair a torn groin tendon. The Eagles have shown that they’re not afraid to use high draft picks on offensive line replacements, even if the pick doesn’t start in Year 1.
Of the six non-quarterbacks who project to go early in the first round, it’s unlikely that pass rushers Will Anderson (Alabama) and Jalen Carter (Georgia) will fall past sixth or seventh overall, unless Carter’s current legal issue triggers a major tumble for the two-time national champion.
Edge rusher Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech) is another prospect who probably won’t be there at 10.
But that still laves the potential of edge defender Lukas Van Ness (Iowa) or Miles Murphy (Clemson) , cornerbacks Devon Witherspoon (Illinois) and Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State), defensive tackle Calijah Kancey (Pitt), offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. (Ohio State) or other high-ranking non-quarterbacks to be available at 1o.
Another ideal – and maybe preferable – scenario for the Eagles: Richardson is available at 10, enabling Roseman to orhcestrate a trade-down and collect more picks by capitalizing on a team interested in lea[fogging the Titans at 11 to ensure they get their quarterback.
“I think for right now all we can do right now is take this process, which is meeting these players,” Roseman said at his podium session Tuesday at the NFL Combine. “We have two first-round picks. Make sure that we just make good decisions after good decisions, we stack those together, and we’ll end up having a really good team, and we’ll get to camp and try to bring them all together.”
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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