Among the more intriguing storylines of the NFL scouting combine was news that the Patriots met with quarterback prospect Anthony Richardson.
The meeting came as a bit of a surprise, of course, given New England’s quarterback situation seems solid with Mac Jones already in the fold with a seemingly capable backup, Bailey Zappe, ready to push Jones. Additionally, it doesn’t seem likely Richardson would still be on the board when the Patriots draft at No. 14.
That seems even less likely after Richardson’s record-setting combine performance. The Florida QB left no question about his physical traits. He’s a massive human being who can fly and has a rocket for an arm. Accuracy is a bit of an issue, but there undoubtedly will be some team that believes it can smooth down the raw edges and turn Richardson into an elite signal-caller.
But what if the Patriots aren’t sitting at No. 14 on draft night? What if Bill Belichick finds a way to move up the board to get a quarterback like Richardson?
On the surface, it seems far-fetched because of Jones. However, reports of the Las Vegas Raiders’ reported interest in the Patriots quarterback are interesting. Vegas coach Josh McDaniels knows Jones from coaching him his rookie season in Foxboro before bolting for the desert to take the head job.
If McDaniels and the Raiders are that interested, would they be willing to trade the No. 7 pick for Jones, the No. 15 pick in 2020? Maybe, if the Raiders didn’t believe in any of the other QBs at the top of the board. There’s something to be said for that familiarity, too.
There admittedly are a whole lot of ifs for this scenario to play out, but the Patriots meeting with Richardson sure is an interesting wrinkle to consider. It’s especially noteworthy if you’re exploring the NFL draft market. There are myriad ways to bet the draft, and one option is to bet the team that will land a certain player.
At the moment, DraftKings Sportsbook is offering a market on the team to draft Richardson. The top of that board is littered with QB-needy teams drafting high.
Which team will draft Anthony Richardson?
Midway down the list are the Patriots at a very tempting 35-1. At the risk of putting way too much stock into the Richardson-Patriots pow-wow, New England didn’t take the chance to chat just because. There’s at least some sort of football-related motive to express interest.
The arrow is pointing way up on Richardson at the moment, both in the NFL draft world and in the betting market. However, he completed just 53.8% of his passes as a junior last season with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. It certainly wasn’t the most talented Florida team ever assembled, and the SEC is the SEC, but those numbers don’t jump off the page. Maybe the Patriots are just doing their homework in case Richardson falls outside the top 10.
Or maybe they are considering something completely out of left field that involves moving up to grab the Gators QB. Either way, that betting market is going to have an interesting story to tell by the time it’s all said and done as April 27 approaches.