Where will Anthony Richardson go in 2023 NFL Draft? Mock drafts adjust for Panthers trade

Dan Rorabaugh

One of the biggest mysteries leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft is how high Anthony Richardson could go.

The tools are all there for the former Florida Gators quarterback. The Gainesville native threw for 2,549 yards and 17 touchdowns in his first and only full season as the starter. He also has the much-sought running ability of the modern QB, rushing for 1,116 yards and 12 scores across three college seasons. But he also has a history of injuries and subpar play, completing under 55% of his passes and throwing 15 interceptions in his college career.

Richardson was the star of the NFL Combine, putting up record numbers for quarterbacks. Now the question becomes who will draft him. The Carolina Panthers were a favorite in early mock drafts, and then they traded with the Chicago Bears to move up to No. 1 overall. Does that mean Richardson could be the first taken April 27? Or will he still have to wait till Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and even Will Levis go off the board?

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Here's where NFL Draft experts predict Richardson will land:

Nate Davis, USA TODAY: Indianapolis Colts at No. 4

He'd be quite a departure from the pocket passers Indy has largely been reliant on in recent seasons, but the Colts' options were instantly limited after the Panthers jumped them. Yet new HC Shane Steichen might be the perfect man to shape Richardson given the success he had with Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia. And with veteran QB Gardner Minshew II now in the fold, the Colts have another guy who could teach Richardson the offense and even start indefinitely if the 21-year-old isn't ready to play ... even if that means the entire 2023 season.

Greg Auman, Fox Sports: Colts at No. 4

Richardson oozes upside, but his athleticism and playmaking ability might be offset by a limited run as a starting quarterback. His 24 career touchdown passes would be the fewest by a QB drafted in the top 10 since Michael Vick, who had 21 when he was the first pick in 2001. The closest since are Trey Lance and Cam Newton, with 30 each. But for a franchise that has missed on quarterbacks on the decline at the end of their career, this is the exciting opposite, a home-run swing whether it clears the fences or not. The franchise has sorely missed that in the post-Andrew Luck era.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: Seattle Seahawks at No. 5

Why Richardson? The upside is so, so high. He's a 6-foot-4, 244-pound signal-caller who can make any throw and who also ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the combine. If he's given time to catch up to the speed of the NFL, he could be a star. This would be a great situation for him, on an offense that has young stars. Plus, the Seahawks have another Round 1 pick at No. 20 — if any team is in a spot to take a high-risk player, it's them. By the way, four quarterbacks going in the top five picks has never happened before.

Daniel Jeremiah, Colts at No. 4

Will Levis could easily be the pick here, but Richardson’s unbelievable athleticism would be a fun fit in Shane Steichen’s offense. 

Ben Standig, The Athletic: Seahawks at No. 3 (via trade)

From the Seahawks’ perspective, Geno Smith’s new contract is about keeping a productive quarterback they know and taking advantage of a down NFC. The long haul is perhaps another story. While Smith leads the way, Richardson can hone his quarterbacking skills off-camera for a season with Seattle re-assessing things in 2024, knowing it can move off Smith’s contract in 2025.

Charles McDonald, Yahoo Sports: Houston Texans at No. 2

Anthony Richardson had a powerhouse performance at this year’s combine and may have asserted himself as a potential top-five pick. The Texans will be adopting the Shanahan system in Houston under new offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik, and Richardson gives them a super-athletic QB to run it. This wouldn’t prevent the team from signing a veteran like Jimmy Garoppolo, leaving them in a much better spot than last season.

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports: Colts at No. 4

Glorious development for the Colts. They don't have to move up to land Richardson and get a big, ultra-athletic quarterback for Shane Steichen.

Todd McShay, ESPN: Colts at No. 4

His physical traits are exciting, and if coach Shane Steichen can work with him on his footwork and accuracy, the sky's the ceiling. On one hand, Richardson threw 17 touchdown passes — including three of 40-plus air yards — and rushed for an FBS QB-high 6.4 yards per carry in 2022. On the other, he completed 54.7% of his throws over 13 career starts. The upside comes with risk, and I do think he might need more time to develop before taking over as an NFL starter — which means the Colts could be active in the QB free agent market, too. But if the 6-4, 244-pound signal-caller can put it all together, sign me up for big-time throws to Michael Pittman Jr. and highlight-reel runs on Sundays in Indy.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Seahawks at No. 5

The Seahawks have Geno Smith, so Richardson can wait to play, which he will need to do. He has all the tools to be a star, but inconsistency is his problem.

Dane Brugler, The Athletic: Baltimore Ravens at No. 4 (via trade)

They’d swap a proven playmaking talent at quarterback for a potentially playmaking talent. But they’d also reset their quarterback clock and maintain financial flexibility to build up the rest of the roster, which is a priority for the organization. Tyler Huntley would be the Ravens’ new starting quarterback in 2023, with Richardson mixed in throughout his rookie season until he’s ready to take over.

Charles Davis, Colts at No. 4

Colts GM Chris Ballard and new head coach Shane Steichen have already added a trusted veteran quarterback in Gardner Minshew, but this gifted young signal-caller is their future.

Danny Kelly, The Ringer: Colts at No. 3 (via trade)

The Colts decide to go get their man, trading up one spot with the Cardinals to ensure no other QB-needy teams jump them. Richardson is raw, with just 13 starts on his résumé, but he boasts truly rare physical skills as both a passer and runner. New head coach Shane Steichen could implement a Jalen Hurts–style plan around his new quarterback, bringing a read-option and run-centric scheme that highlights Richardson’s skill set while giving him the opportunity to hone his abilities as a passer.

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports: Seahawks at No. 5

It would be difficult for Seattle to bypass Will Anderson Jr. considering their issues rushing the passer but quarterback is a more valuable position. Geno Smith's contract extension allows Anthony Richardson to be brought along at his own pace.

Michael Middlehurt-Schwartz, USA TODAY: Colts at No. 4

At 6-4, 244 pounds with 4.43-second speed in the 40-yard dash and arm strength to marvel at, Richardson is a singular physical talent – so much so that he can't be ruled out of the running for the No. 1 overall selection at this point. With only 393 career pass attempts at Florida, however, he's still tinkering with his footwork and touch. New coach Shane Steichen might be the perfect person to take on the role of Richardson's mentor, with his tutelage of Jalen Hurts serving as a potential roadmap for another dual-threat quarterback. But taking Richardson might necessitate the addition of a veteran who can be a bridge starter in the early going.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Colts at No. 4

Before Richardson shined in the Combine's agility testing, new offensive-minded coach Shane Steichen hinted at the podium he was looking for a dynamic dual threat he could mold into a high-upside franchise QB, fresh off working with Jalen Hurts (6-1, 223 pounds) in Philadelphia. Richardson ran, jumped and flipped his way to dominance and then showed off his jaw-dropping arm strength in the passing drills. Assuming they don't trade for Lamar Jackson, this move can help the Colts break free from their cycle of recycled veteran pocket passers.