What Florida coach Billy Napier said about Richardson, Torrence leading up to NFL Draft

Kevin Brockway
The Gainesville Sun

Florida football could end up with two players picked in tonight's first round of the NFL Draft -- quarterback Anthony Richardson and offensive lineman O'Cyrus Torrence.

If both players are picked, it would be the first time since 2021 the Gators had two players selected in the first round. That year, tight end Kyle Pitts went fourth in the NFL Draft to the Atlanta Falcons and wide receiver Kadarius Toney went 20th to the New York Giants.

Looking ahead:It's never too early: 5 Florida Gators who could go in the 2024 NFL Draft

Hometown hero:Former Florida QB Anthony Richardson is the ultimate Gainesville hometown success story

Stock risers:Florida football: 5 players who raised their stock this spring

Florida Gators coach Billy Napier appeared on both ESPN Radio and NFL Radio Sirius XM to talk about both draft hopefuls. Here's what he had to say:

Anthony Richardson's greatest trait

“I think he’s a real loyal guy. He wants to do his job for the team. There’s a certain sense of responsibility that he feels to do his absolute best for his teammates. That is what impressed me. I do think, as a competitor, as a leader, playing quarterback at the University of Florida is a huge deal. There’s a lot that comes with that. There’s a long list of strengths here. I think the guy is a natural thrower and the arm talent, there’s no throw this guy cannot make. You can draw up about anything you want to draw up. Although he is a unique athlete, I think the arm talent, the accuracy, the ability to throw all different types of throws in the pocket, on the move. At some point in his career, he’s going to have to make his living being a passer. I think he’s capable of doing that.” – Gators Head Coach Billy Napier on Fitz and Harry on ESPN Radio (April 26, 2023) 

Perfect situation for Anthony Richardson

“Continuity in a system will be important. I think it’ll be really important he gets to a place with a head coach, with a coordinator, quarterback coach. Continuity year one, year two, year three. Regardless if he is the starter or not. I think the organization makes a wholesale commitment to build around what he is capable of doing. There are some great scenarios where there are new head coaches that could draft the guy and do just that. Give him the reps, build around what he is capable of doing. There are also scenarios out there where he could sit behind a savvy veteran that’s the consummate pro that could kind of show Anthony what it would be like to operate at a high level with multiple years of experience. I think both of those would be ideal for Anthony, but this will be a journey. There’s going to be a lot of good day and a lot of bad days. There’s going to be growth here, but I think the ceiling. We can’t see the ceiling if that makes sense. It’s exciting to see and I know Anthony is looking forward to the challenge. He's excited about proving himself. He’s bet on himself and he’s proved to people through the interview process and combine that he is up for the task.” – Gators Head Coach Billy Napier on Fitz and Harry on ESPN Radio (April 26, 2023) 

O'Cyrus Torrence

“O’Cyrus is the opposite of Anthony. He has a huge sample size of plays. He’s a four-year starter. Played over 3000 snaps. This guy played three years in the Sun Belt and then made the move to the SEC and proved himself this year. All the measurements are there, although he was a Group of Five player, he’s 6-5 335 pounds. Football comes easy to him, he’s really bright. He’s got great instincts. He’s good in the run game and plays with power, can move people, but also plays long in the pass game. Can win those one on ones there inside with some of those tough matchups. This guy can step in there for you and play right away. I think he’s humble, comes from great people. Grew up raised by his grandma in a small community in Louisiana. He’s durable, he’s tough and he’s been a very consistent person as well as a player.” – Gators Head Coach Billy Napier on Fitz and Harry on ESPN Radio (April 26, 2023) 

O'Cyrus Torrence's transition from Sun Belt to SEC

“First of all, the guy is really instinctive when it comes to football. He’s a quick learner. His first game of his college career, the starter in front of him got hurt, he’s jogging out there in the first possession of the game and the rest is history. But, he’s a really quick learner, great character, very unassuming. Kind of lives a simple life, from a small community in Louisiana. Guy is a great teammate, but ultimately the guy has traits. He has the measurables. He’s 6-foot-five, 335 pounds. Plays with tremendous power and length. Good in the run game, can move people, but has also been outstanding in protection. This is the opposite of Anthony Richardson. This guy has played close to 3500 snaps in his career. There’s a huge sample size. Three years of group of five play, but now, a year against the best players in the country in the Southeastern Conference. This is a guy, in my opinion, can plug and play as a day one starter. The proofs in the pudding. He’s not only proved it on film, but in every measurable. I think the guy is off the charter. Cybo has been a pleasure to be around. I can’t compliment his work ethic, his durability, his toughness. He has been a very consistent player and person for us throughout his career.” – Gators Head Coach Billy Napier on TheBlitz on NFL Radio SiriusXM (April 25, 2023) 

Anthony Richardson's decision to leave Florida

“One of the things I respected about Anthony is he went through a really exhaustive process to gather as much information as he can and make an educated decision. He waited on the advisory committee and he got great information across the board. A lot of different opinions. But, ultimately, 10 out of 32 teams gave him a first-round grade. He had confidence he could move into the first round and if you can get into the first round it’s hard to pass up that opportunity. Anthony is a really bright young man and has good people around him. Ultimately, he bet on himself and I’m excited to see how this thing works out.” – Gators Head Coach Billy Napier on The Blitz on NFL Radio SiriusXM (April 25, 2023)

Anthony Richardson's upside 

“That’s the intrigue. You really dig into the history here. Right here from Gainesville, Florida. Eastside High School. His freshman year of college football was COVID. So completely different environment. 2021 was a little bit of unique year, in terms of the coaching change, and then we had him as a first-year starter. He had only played right around 200 plays prior to this past season and only started one game. First year starter, new offensive system. New staff, not only for him but all of the people around him. You’re talking about a guy who is not a very experienced player. But, this guy maybe the most physically talented football player I’ve ever been around. He showed that in Indianapolis. Generational talent and I think the upside here, because of the character, intelligence and the physical traits. This guy just needs continuity, he needs reps and the sky’s the limit. – Gators Head Coach Billy Napier on The Blitz on NFL Radio SiriusXM (April 25, 2023)