There are legitimate reasons people believe they are 1st round picks. There are legitimate reasons why I don't.
The NFL is the employer of some of the greatest athletes and physical specimens in the world. Meeting Will Levis or Anthony Richardson in person would surely be an astonishing experience. They look like NFL players. They work out like NFL players. They are incredible athletes. The fact that they throw a beautiful ball rightfully puts them near the top of the list for NFL QB prospects.
The quarterback position has never been a position that warrants world class athleticism. Being an elite passer is more important than being an elite runner. I don't consider Levis or Richardson to be elite in either category.
Before we get too upset, know that I put most of my stock in numbers. They are listed below...what should convince me?
WILL LEVIS 2022
Anthony Richardson 2022
You can make the argument that Will Levis had good games against Mizzou (weak) and #14 Ole Miss (lost 22-19), and #16 Mississippi State. I would accept that. I'm not here to say he was a bad quarterback. But I wouldn't say those games really impressed me either.
Anthony Richardson had a great season opener against #7 Utah, completing 70.8% of his passes and rushing for 100 yards and 3 TDs. Excellent. That's 1st round material. However, the next 11 games were FAR from impressive.
#5 Anthony Richardson
It was so cool to see my guy Meelypops host AR15 for an autograph signing down in Florida. It seemed like a great experience for everyone. I'll be rooting for Richardson wherever he goes.
AR15 ran the 4th fastest 40-yard dash ever ran by a QB at the combine (4.43). He set QB combine records in the Broad Jump (10'09") and Vertical Jump (40.50"). He stands 6'4" 232 lbs. There are multiple analysts saying he is the most athletic QB prospect we have ever seen. Those are all facts and I believe he should be drafted for those reasons alone.
In my opinion, however, those facts don't negate the other facts - the ones that matter for quarterbacks in the NFL.
His passing stats are worse than almost everyone else's in this draft. Dead last in Completion Percentage. 3rd worst in ESPN Passer Rating. 4th worst in TD/INT ratio. Florida was 6-6 with 2 losses to unranked teams.
When I think about a 1st Round Pick, I think about someone who can help your team right now OR an investment that can help reroute your franchise to a successful path. The reasons that people like Anthony Richardson in the 1st round are the same reasons we like WRs in the first round - not QBs. I have not seen one thing that makes me think he is a 1st Round QB. I said what I said. I hope I'm wrong - especially if my Colts use the #4 overall pick to get him.
#4 Will Levis
I am a fan of Will Levis. He seemed to be a great leader and seems like a great person. I am rooting for him to be successful - especially if he becomes a Colt! I have been pretty critical of Levis in my monthly QB articles throughout the season. Those concerns are still loud in my head. He takes too many sacks. Compared to other QBs in this draft class, he ranks dead last out of 18 guys in Sacks/Attempts after he was smacked 37 times this year. Kentucky fans are quick to tell me the line was bad this year, and I am encouraged that he only took 16 sacks as a junior with a better line. He actually first caught my attention in that season when he put on a great show against LSU, completing 82% of his passes with 3 passing TDs and 2 rushing TDs.
There have been pockets of true potential with Levis when you look at the whole picture of his career. His last campaign was not one that I would think could guarantee a 1st Round Pick. In fact, I would say that I am still skeptical whether he will be selected in the 1st Round. His arm strength and athleticism are impressive enough to keep him in that conversation. We will find out in about 10 days!
I do think Will Levis is a guy that could benefit greatly from learning for a veteran. I would love to see him go somewhere he could sit for a year.