The Ravens have already been at the heart of plenty of QB-driven speculation this offseason with Lamar Jackson‘s future remaining in the air. A draft-day development that would alter the team dramatically could be in the cards.
Baltimore’s interest in Anthony Richardson is seen by a number of other teams as being “very real,” as noted by Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post.
The Ravens’ affinity for the Florida product may reach the point that they could trade into the middle part of the first round to secure him, La Canfora adds. Such a move would obviously require a specific set of circumstances and represent a franchise-defining commitment.
Richardson is arguably the most polarizing prospect in the 2023 class, especially at the quarterback position. He served as the Gators starter for only one season and delivered an inconsistent performance that included accuracy issues (53.8% completion percentage) but also a demonstration of his dynamic rushing ability (654 yards, nine touchdowns).
His draft stock was boosted considerably at the NFL Combine when he was among the top performers in athletic testing at any position, let along signal-callers.
The Ravens were one of several teams that hosted Richardson on a predraft visit, suggesting they wanted to at least do their due diligence on the 6-foot-4, 236-pounder.
If they remain high on him — and are willing to get aggressive by moving up several picks to select him — they would obviously be convinced that the risk of investing in his athletic traits would be worth the reward. A number of factors point to a trade-up being unlikely, however.
With several QB-needy teams set to pick in the top 10 on Thursday, a run on passers is expected. Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Will Levis could easily be off the board within the first four picks, meaning Richardson may not have to wait long to hear his name called.
A few teams (including the Raiders and Titans, set to pick seventh and 11th, respectively) have been named as candidates to move up the board for a QB, something that would take the Ravens out of the picture.
The Ravens are also dealing with an uncharacteristically low amount of draft capital this year. They have only five total selections in 2023, and are without a second-rounder due to the Roquan Smith trade.
Trading up (rather than down) in the first round would thus come as a surprise for any target, but the addition of a potential franchise signal-caller certainly alters traditional practices with draft picks. Were the Ravens to draft Richardson, Jackson’s standing with the organization would be called even further into question.
The former MVP had the non-exclusive franchise tag applied last month, opening up the possibility of an offer sheet.
No market has developed for him, though, and he went public with his trade request in an attempt to move contract negotiations with the Ravens along or accelerate the process of another team acquiring him.
Richardson is seen as a developmental project — much like Jackson was upon his arrival in the league — so the team’s plans at the QB spot would become even more of a storyline than they already are if the former was to find himself heading to Baltimore.