The Seattle Seahawks appear to be among the teams interested in two top quarterback prospects, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson, with an early eye on the 2023 NFL draft. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler reported that the Seahawks were in attendance for the September 10, 2022 SEC showdown between the Gators and Wildcats. Seattle has two first-round picks in 2023, making the franchise a threat to select one of the top quarterbacks.
“A lot of NFL execs in Gainesville tonight to see Will Levis and Anthony Richardson,” Brugler said in a series of September 10 tweets. “The Giants reserved 3 spots for their brain trust: Joe Schoen, GM Tim McDonnell, Dir. of Player Personnel, Dennis Hickey, Asst. Dir. of Player Personnel. A few other notable evaluators expected to be in Gainesville for tonight’s QB showdown: Ray Agnew, Lions Asst. GM Matt Berry, Seahawks Dir. of College Scouting, Dan Morgan, Panthers Asst. GM Anthony Robinson, Falcons Dir. of College Scouting.”
It is important to note that Florida and Kentucky have other NFL prospects beyond Levis and Richardson, but Brugler emphasized that NFL teams were focused on the two quarterbacks. Richardson is rising up draft boards after leading Florida to an upset victory over Utah to open the college football season.
The Gators quarterback threw for 168 yards while completing 70.8% of his passes against the Utes. Richardson was most impressive on the ground where he rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns.
Heading into the season, Levis was among the top quarterback prospects after the consensus top two, Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. Like Richardson, Levis is a threat with his legs rushing for 376 yards and nine touchdowns during his 13 appearances in 2021. Levis also threw for 2,826 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing 66% of his passes.
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ESPN’s Todd McShay had Levis as the third ranked quarterback and No. 21 overall prospect in his preseason rankings. The ESPN draft analyst had Richardson as his fifth ranked signal-caller but outside the top-50 players.
Richardson could make up the most ground this season as the Gators quarterback only had one career start heading into 2021. Preseason quarterback prospect rankings tend to be the most volatile position group as we have seen players like Joe Burrow, Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield go from being potential day two or three picks to becoming the No. 1 overall selection. Brugler believes Richardson has a chance to emerge as the first quarterback selected in the 2023 draft if the playmaker can capitalize on the rest of the season.
“Richardson was impressive against the Utes, in myriad ways,” Brugler wrote on September 8. “He showed an accurate, smooth stroke on his passes; his legs and body strength helped him break tackles and create second-chance plays; and he took care of the football, avoiding any killer mistakes.
“…While Levis has the clear advantage in terms of on-field experience, Richardson will have the home-field advantage in this game and the better supporting cast in his offensive line and skill weapons. If Richardson continues to transform his potential into on-field production, he has the tools to vault to the top of this draft class.”
The Seahawks opted to stick with Geno Smith and Drew Lock for the 2022 season instead of acquiring another veteran like Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo. Unless either quarterback exceeds expectations this season, Seattle is among the top candidates to select a signal-caller in the upcoming draft.