Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson said his NFL decision — along with others in his position — is personal, unique and challenging for all involved.
“It could be difficult,” Richardson said this week. “It could bring a lot of pressure on a person. But it’s honestly up to them and their judgment and what they want to do regarding their future.”
The Gators’ star is on the clock to decide his next step as the regular season concluded Friday night at Florida State.
Richardson and some of his teammates, notably guard O’Cyrus Torrence and defensive tackle Gervon Dexter, have generated NFL draft buzz and could leave early. The same is true of Florida State defensive end Jared Verse, free safety Jammie Robinson, quarterback Jordan Travis and 6-foot-7 receiver Johnny Wilson.
None has come close to generating the intense speculation and scrutiny surrounding Richardson, who at 6-foot-4, 232 pounds possesses a wide receiver’s speed, a running back’s vision and the ability to effortlessly throw a football 75 yards.
Richardson’s skill set has drawn considerable interest and curiosity while placing him under the microscope where his bouts of inaccuracy, shaky decision-making and occasional indecisiveness as a runner are magnified.
Walter Football, a respected NFL draft Web site, projected Richardson as the No. 3 pick after the Utah game but no longer has him in the second round. The redshirt sophomore entered the FSU game completing 55.7% of his throws, with 14 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, but also rushed for 613 yards and 9 scores in 11 games.
Richardson surely would impress at the NFL Scouting Combine, but also made his 13th career start Friday night and could benefit from more seasoning and experience.
A weighty decision lies ahead.
An easier one might await Verse, whom Walter Football projects as the No. 15 pick. The 6-foot-4, 251-pound redshirt sophomore is tied for the ACC lead with 15 tackles for loss and second with 7.5 sacks despite missing time with a knee injury.
Torrence, at No. 55 by Walter Football, is the only Gator in the first two rounds, while Robinson is pegged as the No. 57 selection.
The 6-foot-5, 347-pound Torrence, a fourth-year junior, anchors a run game averaging 209.3 yards, third in the SEC. Robinson is a versatile redshirt junior able to line up at free safety, against slot receiver or in the box. He leads the team with 76 tackles and is second in 4 pass breakups and 4 quarterback hurries.
Dexter, a 6-foot-6, 312-pound junior, has intriguing potential and solid production — 48 tackles, including 3 sacks while faced with consistent double-teaming.
Wilson has 649 receiving yards on 33 catches (19.7 average) and 5 scores. Travis has 21 touchdown throws and just 4 picks while completing 65.3% of his throws, but is 6-foot-1, 201 pounds without Richardson’s size or ceiling.
Even so, the 20-year-old’s NFL future is as uncertain as most in his position.
“They got to have a lot of talks with their family and just consider everything that’s happened,” Richardson said. “Sometimes you’ve got to be selfish and see what’s on the table.”
Matt Murschel contributed to this story.
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Edgar Thompson at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @osgators.