Anthony Richardson’s exceptional performance to kick off the 2022 college football season justified the comparisons to Carolina Panthers legend Cam Newton.
The Carolina Panthers are moving forward with Baker Mayfield as their starting quarterback this season. But with just one signal-caller under contract next year, it would be wise for those in power to keep a close eye on what looks to be an exceptional draft class entering the league in 2023.
One prospect that can do his chances the world of good in the coming months is Anthony Richardson. The Florida product has been compared to former Panthers legend Cam Newton thanks to his size, athleticism, and play-making abilities, which were on full display as the Gators pulled off a major upset against Utah to begin their campaign.
Richardson is raw with very little starting experience. However, the dual-threat skills were a constant thorn in Utah’s side en route to a 70.83 percent completion percentage for 168 passing yards, 104 rushing yards, and three touchdowns on the ground.
There were times when Richardson missed some reads, which is understandable at this stage of his development. But the prospect has traits that cannot be taught and his electrifying display is sure to make the Panthers and others across the league sit up and take notice.
Carolina Panthers should monitor Anthony Richardson closely in 2023
Richardson’s size and physical style are similar to what Newton brought to the table. But it’s unfair to expect the same impact made by the Auburn product during a Heisman Trophy-winning campaign and national championship en route to becoming the No. 1 overall selection in 2011.
This was a topic discussed by Matt Fitzgerald of Barstool Sports, who claimed Richardson would not be a dark horse for much longer if he keeps up his sort of production throughout the college season.
“We might be looking at our next one-year wonder who happens to have similar dimensions to Cam Newton. Even if Richardson doesn’t match Cam’s overall achievements on the gridiron, he has a comparable amount of upside. Anthony Richardson’s Heisman Trophy campaign to at least match Newton in that department is off to a strong start. He may not be deemed a dark horse for much longer.”
Whether the Panthers are in the market for a quarterback in 2023 is anyone’s guess.
There is real hope Mayfield can propel the organization into relevancy after adjusting superbly following his trade from the Cleveland Browns, with his competitive fire and improved distribution something Carolina has been lacking since they decided to release Newton in favor of Teddy Bridgewater to begin the Matt Rhule era.
If it doesn’t go well, then the organization could look at the incoming batch of college recruits for a long-term solution. Richardson has one of the highest ceilings of all and if gradual improvements continue as the season goes on, then he could be among the hottest commodities during the all-important assessment process.
Richardson justified the Newton comparisons in Week 1 of the college football season. However, teams including the Panthers will need to see this sort of performance level over a consistent period before they become convinced in his abilities as a franchise-caliber quarterback at the next level.
Putting the college world on notice against a top-10 ranked team was just the start for Richardson. What comes next for the player is more important.