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Does former Florida QB Anthony Richardson’s draft pick help Tennessee QB Joe Milton?

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Former Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson was taken as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft.

Richardson was picked on potential, not production. He was picked on his talent, not his won-loss record.

At Florida, Richardson was 6-7 as a starter. He completed only 53.8% of his passes in 2022. While possessing a rocket arm, he was more dangerous as a runner than a thrower.

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In 2022, Richardson had four games in which he completed less than 50% of his passes. He was 9 of 27 against Florida State, 14 of 35 against Kentucky, 11 of 23 against South Carolina. He passed for 112 yards against South Florida.

As a four-year starter in high school, his team made the playoffs just once. He was basically a .500 quarterback.

So when the Colts made him the No. 4 pick of this year’s draft, my first thought was: This helps the stock of Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton.

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Milton has a bigger arm than Richardson. He had a much better won-loss record at Tennessee (11-5) than Richardson at Florida. He has a better completion percentage this season (64.7%) than Richardson did his last year in Gainesville. And he’s been invited to the Senior Bowl – which usually doesn’t invite quarterbacks unless they project to be drafted before round five.

However, Milton doesn’t compare to Richardson as a runner. Richardson ripped off several runs of over 50 yards at Florida. Milton was a reluctant runner at times as a Vol.

So, in which round will Milton be drafted?

I posed that question to a media member who has worked for the NFL network for years.

“As a QB?” was the first response. “He’s NOT an NFL QB.”

Maybe not, but you can bet some NFL scouts will fall in love with his arm, just as coaches at Michigan and Tennessee did. And some arrogant NFL scouts will believe they can “fix” Milton.

The media member is not in that camp.

“Love the kid, HATE his inaccuracy,” he said. “Agree he gets drafted, but I don’t see this as an Anthony Richardson situation.”

John McClain, formerly of the Houston Chronicle who has followed NFL drafts for over 40 years, seems more optimistic about Milton’s draft stock.

“Scouts don’t care what they do in college, just what they do in shorts and t-shirts,” McClain said. “Who would have thought this time last year Richardson would be the fourth pick?

“He’s got great size and a cannon. He needs a good QB coach to correct his flaws and prepare him for the combine and pro day. Bad year (for a QB) to come out, though.”

True, with Caleb Williams and Drake Maye and Michael Penix and Bo Nix and Jayden Daniels, among others, on the market.

Mike Keith, Voice of the Tennessee Titans since 1998, is confident Milton will be selected.

“I think the Richardson comp (comparison) is interesting except Joe is about (two) years older than Anthony Richardson,” Keith said. “That hurts him in that respect.

“But people are always going to be willing to roll the dice on somebody that can be a game changer. With as many teams having quarterback problems as they do in the NFL right now …  it’s a big deal.

“Milton is a Richardson comp in terms of size. I think he’ll put on a show at the combine, if he’s invited. I think he’ll have a chance to put on a show at a postseason all-star bowl (Milton has been invited to the Senior Bowl). It would shock me if he were not drafted.”

I’ve got a lunch bet with a friend that Milton will be drafted. I could order from the menu right now.

But how high will Milton go?

He will impress at the combine. His arm talent is unquestioned. His accuracy will be fine when throwing without a rush and with receivers running routes against air. While he is not a quick decision maker, he’ll do fine diagnosing plays on a chalk board.

My prediction: Milton will be drafted no later than the third round.

And I’ll take some Swiss cheese on my Litton’s burger.

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