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SNS Mail Bag - April 18, 2023

Will Anthony Richardson (QB / Florida) be drafted in the top 3? If not, where will he be drafted? Pro comp for him and why?

First off, thank you for your questions, Tim! Keep ‘em coming!

Richardson is trending towards being selected within the top 3 of the draft and is unlikely to fall beyond the Colts at #4. And it is becoming increasingly likely that Arizona will trade the third pick. There is even talk that if Bryce Young goes #1 to Carolina, Houston will pass on the other QBs and either select an Edge or trade back with a QB-needy team. So, it appears Richardson will be long gone by Seattle’s pick at #5. Now, whether or not he is worth it, that’s another matter.

In Anthony Richardson’s scouting report (available for free here at SNS!), his comp was listed as free agent QB Cam Newton. But that is an imprecise comparison. Newton was significantly more experienced, productive, and much further along in his development than Richardson at this point in their draft journeys. And Richardson has a stronger arm and is faster than Newton – no small feat! Richardson is an intriguing prospect but if he ends up a bust, some people will lose their jobs. The ultimate Risk v. Reward prospect.

Who might be have the highest ceiling of any QB in the draft?

Richardson. He has rare arm strength, size, and speed. His potential is incredibly high. But boy, there are some trouble signs – only 13 career starts, with a 6-6 record in his lone year as starter in Gainesville. His passing instincts and field vision are still developing and his fundamentals need tweaking to improve his accuracy and touch. Richardson is very much a work in progress. But his upside is as high as any QB has had in years.

Who is a sleeper (3-4th Round QB) that can be a good starter and why?

There are several good mid-round QB prospects available, including Stetson Bennett (Georgia), Max Duggan (TCU), Chase Brice (Appalachian State), Jake Haener (Fresno State), and Aidan O’Connell (Purdue), who project as potential long-term quality NFL back-up QBs. This leaves a couple prospects, who if they go to the right situation and the “stars align,” could become reliable NFL starters. Namely, Clayton Tune (Houston), Tanner McKee (Stanford) and Malik Cunningham (Louisville) have enough experience and NFL traits to become starters. But SNS will focus on another QB as a sleeper worth investing in, and developing into, a starter. Dorian Thompson-Robinson (UCLA) is extremely experienced and productive with a very good arm, mobility, field vision, and decision-making. Drafted into the right situation, and given time to learn as a back-up, DTR could excel as an NFL starting QB.

Who is the best receiver in the draft and why?

The 2023 WR class lacks any surefire, elite prospects like year’s past. There are no Ja’Marr Chase’s, DK Metcalf’s, or AJ Brown’s in this draft. But there is solid depth and some play-makers will be available through all three days of the draft. The most complete WR with the most upside is Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State). Although he lacks some size and length, JSN is extremely quick, precise in his route running, and tough and exploits holes in zones better than any WR in this draft. He combines speed and quickness and was a true difference maker in college.

JSN’s pro comp?

Devonta Smith (Philadelphia) is not a perfect comp for JSN but there are some striking similarities – smoothness, great hands, and toughness to make the catch in traffic. Similar to Smith, JSN is being pegged by many draft analysts as a slot receiver only. But his quickness, release, and hands translate well to any scheme and inside or outside WR. JSN missed practically the entire 2022 season and opted out of the National Playoff game against Georgia and his best position may be as a slot receiver. But his skills are refined and his athleticism superb – he could be a Pro Bowl player in the NFL.

Thoughts on Tank Dell (WR / SMU)?

Nathaniel “Tank” Dell is a player. Period. He runs great routes, is extraordinarily tough, and has fantastic hands. QBs love him because he’s reliable and dependable. His measureables do not stand out. His speed is average. His size is ordinary, at best. He just shows up on game day and balls out. He is most likely to go early on day 3 (4th / 5th round), but he is productive and consistent. Expect him to contribute soon in the NFL.

Jordan Addison (WR / USC) or Zay Flowers (WR / Boston College) and why?

That’s a tough one. They are similar players in many ways – lack great size / length, run good routes, and have good hands. The differences between them focus on smoothness and precision v explosiveness. Addison is a well-schooled, experienced, and solid in all aspects of route running – he can create separation against any coverage. Flowers has burst and an extra gear, often displayed while cutting, that is dangerous in the open field. He’s a threat to take it all the way on any catch. SNS has Addison higher rated primarily because Addison figures to be an outside WR, with the versatility to play the slot, while Flowers may be limited to the slot. But both are very good prospects who will be off the board no later than Friday of draft week.

Thoughts on Quentin Johnston (WR / TCU), pro comp and scouting report.

Johnston had a tremendous final season in Fort Worth, utilizing his size and reach to torch his opposition in an All-American season. Johnston offers a rare combination of size, length, and explosive deep speed. He excels at high pointing and winning in jump ball situations downfield. However, his hands are inconsistent and he is prone to concentration drops. Additionally, tightness in hips is evident on double moves and crossing routes which leads to concerns about creating separation against man coverage. A good comp for Johnston is Courtland Sutton (Denver), who like Johnston, offers great length and ball skills.

Late first and early 2nd Rd pass rusher sleeper options?

Perhaps the best way to sum up the 2023 Edge Rusher class is to divide the class into tiers. The top tier is Will Anderson (Alabama) and Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech). Both prospects have a nice combination of athleticism and power and were highly productive during their college careers. The next tier features highly athletic Edge Rushers who could be developed into productive NFL starters but are either a) projections, b) issues with the prospect or c) the production doesn’t match the measurements and times recorded. Keion White (Georgia Tech), Myles Murphy and KJ Henry (Clemson), Lukas Van Ness (Iowa), and Isaiah Foskey (Notre Dame) fit within this tier. The third tier would be borderline second/third round prospects who are likely to be drafted in the first 100 picks of the draft – Byron Young (Tennessee), Will McDonald (Iowa State), and Felix Anudike-Uzomah (Kansas State). Young and McDonald will not be every down, traditional 4-3 DEs and will need to play in-space in the NFL as an outside LB or as a 3-4 Edge. FAU will need to get stouter against the run and is a proven pass rusher, but all three players are quality prospects who should be solid NFL contributors.

--Tim Cornwell


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