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2023 NFL Draft: Best Fits for Anthony Richardson, Bryce Young and CJ Stroud

Which of the expected top three quarterbacks would fit best with which teams?

CJ Stroud

The 2023 NFL Draft is just a couple of weeks away, and there’s been no shortage of mocks and projected fits at the quarterback position. This year’s class is considered a step up from a widely panned 2022 selection, yet interestingly enough there isn’t a clear consensus for number one overall.

But that’s for another time. Here, we’ll take a look at which teams offer the best fits for what’s considered to be the big three of this year’s class: Anthony Richardson, Bryce Young, and CJ Stroud. For this, I won’t pick the same team more than once – so as to talk about other teams and what they can provide for prospects.

With that said, let’s get right into it! Here are the top three quarterbacks of the 2023 NFL Draft and what team presents the best fit for each.

Anthony Richardson: Indianapolis Colts

Florida Gators prospect Richardson is among the more polarizing in the 2023 class, but he’s also among the more gifted. His combination of size, speed, arm power, mobility, pocket presence, and creativity could be fully realized with the help of a quality coaching staff.

Richardson’s kryptonite has been his inconsistent accuracy, and that’s obviously the one flaw that’s had scouts and media a bit reserved about his potential. But in a similar fashion to polarizing prospects of the past such as Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Justin Herbert, all of this can change once he finds that coach with the Midas touch.

I thought about giving him the Panthers staff initially, and behind one of the best offensive lines in football, it would be a really good fit (and also because of the many accurate comparisons to Panthers legend Cam Newton). Ultimately, however, I’d have to concede this battle to the Colts for a few reasons.

First, there are piles of dynasty upside just waiting to be unlocked with the potential backfield duo of Richardson and Jonathan Taylor. At full health, Taylor is an All-Pro back with some of the deepest cutbacks you’ll see in the recent game. As aforementioned, Richardson’s combination of frame and speed has made him one of the toughest running quarterbacks I’ve seen come out of college. An offensive attack seasoned with RPO between him and Taylor would do wonders in Indianapolis.

Second, new head coach Shane Steichen has a resume of getting the most out of his guys. In 2020 he helped develop Chargers signal-caller Justin Herbert into producing arguably the greatest rookie season a quarterback has ever had, and he spent the last two seasons in Philadelphia helping All-Pro Jalen Hurts transform from a question mark at the position to one of the league’s very best players.

With Hurts, Steichen ran an RPO-heavy, vertical passing showcase which the quarterback executed to near perfection. The talent isn’t quite there in Indianapolis yet (why else would they be drafting a quarterback?), and the decline of the offensive line definitely issues some concerns. But Richardson’s tape showed plenty of resilience against pressure, and I have enough trust that this new coaching staff can turn things around for the better and allow Richardson to run a similar offense to the one the Eagles ran in 2022.

Bryce Young: Carolina Panthers

It’s a good time to be a Panthers fan – almost too good. The offensive line is the best it’s been in years, and the amount of big names the coaching staff has acquired is extensive. They’re also coming off a season where they were a game away from clinching an atrocious NFC South, and on top of that, they secured the number one overall pick in a trade with the Bears.

All signs point to the organization taking Alabama’s Young, a former Heisman winner. The obvious concern comes from his height: Standing in at 5 ’10, Young would be the smallest quarterback in the league once he’s drafted. His arm talent isn’t exceptional either, lacking the high-end off-platform power of a guy like Richardson.

However, Young’s game in the middle of the field comes as a pleasant surprise relative to his small stature, because he spent his career with the Crimson Tide excelling in between the hashes. Something about his vision has given him a sixth sense in the pocket, doing nothing to dampen his sensational playmaking and advanced acumen.

Young is among the more accurate quarterback prospects I’ve studied in recent memory. His passes pierce smaller windows, and being forced to create outside of structure only enhances it. Height notwithstanding, that combination of playmaking, pocket smarts, and accuracy probably feels a bit safer for the Panthers than it would if they simply decided to select Richardson.

Young doesn’t exactly have the running excellence of Richardson, but his mobility stands out just as much. Behind the Panthers’ offensive line and with new head coach Frank Reich, Carolina stands as the best place for not just him to develop, but for his dynasty game to develop as well.

CJ Stroud: Seattle Seahawks

As much as I love Geno Smith, he is definitely still playing for his future even after breaking the bank with a contract extension in Seattle. He may not mind, and that gives the Seahawks all the more incentive to draft the quarterback of the future with the haul they received in last year’s Russell Wilson trade.

One quarterback who could land in the west coast is Ohio State’s Stroud. A Heisman contender in each of his two seasons as the Buckeyes’ signal caller, Stroud recently took a selfie with the Seahawks back in March. As you may have guessed, that did plenty to heighten the speculation of him playing in navy, white, and gray.

Stroud’s game has been compared to quarterbacks like Jared Goff and Ryan Tannehill, and like those passers, he’s been a player who enjoys getting quick shots out of his hand. Conveniently enough, the Seahawks ran an offense like that where shot plays down the sideline were the status quo. Stroud’s accuracy has stood out and is even comparable to Young’s, and he’s often received praise for his abilities as a pocket passer.

Perhaps the biggest criticism of Stroud’s game isn’t a lack of mobility, but rather a lack of mobility usage. He can scramble and extend plays, but he has definitely restrained it at Ohio State. Fortunately, thanks to the Seahawks’ personnel, he may not have to run all that much, and he’d sit behind Smith until the day comes that it’s his time to shine in the pro league.

I think the Seahawks will use the fifth overall pick on a different position, but Stroud to the Seahawks would be a pretty good fit.

With all this said, did I nail the fits? Give us your thoughts in the comment section below!

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2023 NFL Draft: Best Fits for Anthony Richardson, Bryce Young and CJ Stroud
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