Further to my point earlier in the week about how people view the quarterback class, I wanted to raise another point.
I’m seeing a lot of weird and wonderful projections at the moment regarding Florida’s Anthony Richardson. The thought of him lasting into round two seems a bit fanciful to me — but we’ve been here before.
For some reason the mainstream media consistently struggles with the unpolished or players that emerge without years of limelight games in college football.
If you play for Alabama for two or three years (see: Tua Tagovailoa, Bryce Young) then a lot of possible flaws will be overlooked. In other cases — extreme talent will be dismissed as ‘raw’ or ‘needing a lot of work’.
There are two glaring examples of this.
Whatever you think of Kyler Murray today — it was clear at Oklahoma that he was a special player. He did things we haven’t seen other players do. His talent was, frankly, outrageous. He was an outstanding playmaker with arm talent, creativity, scrambling dynamism and he was destined to be a very high pick.
The mainstream media instead focused on the potential of him playing baseball for longer than was necessary and when he eventually committed to football, it was the norm to see him being mocked in the late first or early second round.
In this article, Mel Kiper had him listed below a cluster of other quarterbacks — including Ryan Finley and Jarrett Stidham.
He was picked in the first round in the MLB draft and got a $4.6 million signing bonus with the Oakland Athletics. The reason Murray is on this list? There’s at least a small chance that he tries to play both sports or gives up baseball for football. If he commits to football — and gives up that guaranteed money from the A’s — McShay believes he will be a first-round pick, while Kiper thinks he’d go on Day 2 in April. Murray is a dynamic dual-threat quarterback, but his true height is an issue for football. Not so much on the baseball diamond.
It soon became very clear that Murray was going to the Cardinals with the #1 pick and the media changed its tune. Kiper was not alone, however, in projecting Murray to the second round.
There’s an even more glaring example.
Patrick Mahomes wasn’t even listed in Daniel Jeremiah’s top-50 prospects in his February list ahead of the 2017 draft. That wouldn’t be so bad — but in an updated version in April, Mahomes still wasn’t listed in the top-50.
Deshone Kizer, however, was ranked on both occasions.
In Jeremiah’s April 2017 mock draft, he eventually did include Mahomes in round one — at #27 overall. Deshaun Watson wasn’t included in the first frame. They ended up being the #10 and #12 picks respectively.
Mahomes himself revealed he was given a second round grade by the draft committee.
The excellent Lance Zierlein graded Mahomes at a 6.30 — a lower grade than Drew Lock (6.40). In his report, Zierlein noted:
Mahomes will be a work in progress, but he’s a high ceiling, low floor prospect.
Which, funnily enough, is exactly what is being said about Anthony Richardson.
None of this means Richardson is guaranteed to go in the top-10 as I suspect he will. It definitely doesn’t mean he’ll go first overall — which I think is a possibility.
What it does show, however, is that the mainstream media has previous with underrating extreme potential due to a perception of players being ‘raw’ or simply not being seen as ‘big names’ in college football for long enough to earn some hype. The evidence, in fact, shows that teams are prepared to invest in players with a big upside. Especially at the most important position in the sport.
If you’ve enjoyed the work and want to support the blog so that I can consider options for the pre-draft coverage in the new year, please consider supporting the site via Patreon — (click here)