During the quarterback workouts at the NFL’s scouting combine on Saturday, Richardson looked every bit as physically imposing as Newton and ran almost like Jackson.
At 6-foot-4, 244 pounds, Richardson set combine records for a quarterback with a vertical jump of 40.5 inches and a broad jump of 10 feet, 9 inches. Richardson, in his only attempt, then uncorked an official clocking of 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash in Lucas Oil Field.
To put that into perspective, Newton, at the 2011 combine, was 6-foot-5, 248 pounds and ran a 4.60 40-yard dash. Newton, a future league MVP, also had a 35-inch vertical to go with a broad jump of 10 feet, 6 inches at that combine. Jackson, who is considered one of the fastest players in the league, did not run a 40-yard dash for scouts at any point before the 2018 draft, and Kyler Murray did not run a 40 before the 2019 draft.
According to ESPN’s Stats & Information, Richardson’s time is tied for fourth fastest among quarterbacks since 2006. But Richardson is by far the heaviest player in the group.
Texas A&M’s Reggie McNeal ran a 4.35 in 2006 at 198 pounds, Robert Griffin III ran a 4.41 in 2012 at 223 pounds and Marcus Vick ran a 4.42 at 200 pounds. Denard Robinson had the other 4.43 among the quarterbacks, at 199 pounds.
Richardson is one of the top quarterback prospects on the draft board and has met with multiple teams with a top-10 pick in his time in Indianapolis this week. Richardson is the No. 12-ranked player on ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest big board.
A starter for just one full season at Florida, Richardson passed for 2,549 yards and 17 touchdowns this past season to go with 654 yards and nine rushing scores. He started eight games in 2021 as a redshirt freshman. He is not considered as polished as a passer — he had nine interceptions this past season — as some of the other quarterbacks in the draft, but his potential has personnel evaluators attempting to figure out how far he could go in his development at the position.
Richardson, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis — all top-12 players on Kiper’s big board — were among the quarterbacks who threw in drills at the combine Saturday. Stroud and Richardson were in the second session while Levis was in the first one.
Alabama’s Bryce Young, Kiper’s No. 4 prospect, did not work out Saturday and will instead throw for teams at his pro day March 23.
On Friday, Richardson said he was intent on showing scouts and personnel executives around the league he was ready to be an NFL starter. Privately, several evaluators said in recent days Richardson had done well in his individual team interviews when asked to break down game video or dissect plays on a whiteboard.