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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Richardson headlines Gators at 2023 NFL Combine

Richardson and eight other Gators showcased their abilities at the combine

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson holds the ball while turning to the running back in the Gators' loss to the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.
Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson holds the ball while turning to the running back in the Gators' loss to the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.

The easiest comparison to Anthony Richardson is former Carolina Panther star quarterback Cam Newton. 

Richardson and Newton have similar builds, and they’re both outstanding athletes with undeniable talent. They even both played for the Gators during their collegiate career.

But Richardson beat out every one of Newton’s times in his performance at the 2023 National Football League Combine.

Nine Gators, including Richardson, traveled to Indianapolis to participate in the combine. Seven Florida football players took part in the physical testing, while linebacker Ventrell Miller and offensive tackle Richard Gouraige sat out due to injury.

Richardson stole the show in the presence of some of the best athletes in the nation. He was expected to test well and proved his athletic prowess by putting up a historic performance.

He measured 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 244 pounds. The former Gator has 32.75-inch arms and 10.5-inch hands. His build is pro ready, and he scored a 99 athleticism score — the best of the 2023 quarterback class — according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

Richardson ran a 4.43 40-yard dash, which was the fourth-best quarterback time ever. He also broke combine records with a 40.5-inch vertical jump and 129-inch broad jump.

Richardson was already a top 10 projected draft pick before his historic display of athleticism. His record-breaking performance now has him in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft.

Bleacher Report’s Scouting Department predicted the Indianapolis Colts will trade up with the Chicago Bears and select Richardson with the first pick in their latest mock draft Tuesday.

Florida also had two offensive linemen receive invites to the combine — Gouraige and offensive guard O’Cyrus Torrence

Gouraige arrived at the combine healthy but woke up with a swollen ankle stemming from a pain tolerance test and decided not to participate in on-field drills Sunday. He only participated in the bench press and cranked out 23 reps, tied for the fourth-worst mark. NFL Next Gen Stats has him listed as the 19th-ranked tackle.

Torrence didn’t test well in Sunday’s offensive line testing but will still be in the conversation as the best interior offensive lineman in the class. 

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He ran a 10th worst 5.31 40-yard dash, sixth worst 4.81 20-yard shuttle and 11th-worst 1.84 10-yard split. He also tested in the bottom five with a 101-inch broad jump and registered the second-worst vertical with a distance of 23.5 inches.

He tested 13th among guards at the combine. However, he was the most productive player at the position and still ranks as the No. 1 guard, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Bleacher Report’s most recent mock draft has him taken with the 30th selection in the first round to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Gervon Dexter Sr. was another positive tester for the Gators. The 6-foot-6-inch defensive lineman was a top-five performer in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and 3-cone drill. He ranked as the 11th-most athletic defensive tackle and seventh overall defensive tackle, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

Justin Shorter measured as one of the biggest wide receivers in this year’s class at 6 foot 4 inches and 229 pounds. However, his testing didn’t show much explosiveness.

Shorter ran a 4.55 40-yard dash and tied for the worst 10-yard split among receivers with a 1.59-second time. His vertical jump and broad jump both landed in the middle of the position group, and his 18 bench reps were the sixth-best count at the position.

The former Gator earned a total score of 58, making him the No. 47 receiver in the 2023 receiver group, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

Safeties Trey Dean III and Rashad Torrence II both tested outside the top 15 safeties. Dean and Torrence were the two slowest safeties with 4.75- and 4.72-second times, respectively. They also both had bottom-three 10-yard splits. The safeties only tested at the top of the bench press; Dean had a position-high 25 reps, and Torrence hit 20 reps.

Defensive end Brenton Cox Jr., who was dismissed by Florida football Oct. 31, was the only other Gator to participate in the combine. Cox ran the third-worst 40-yard dash among edge players with a 4.82-second time. 

He tested toward the middle of the position group in the rest of the drills in which he competed. Cox is the 32nd most athletic edge player and No. 20 overall player at the position, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

The Gators will now look forward to their pro day at 8 a.m. March 30. They will continue to train and hope to hear their names called at the 2023 NFL Draft, which will take place April 27-29.

Contact Kyle Bumpers at Follow him on Twitter @BumpersKyle.

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Kyle Bumpers

Kyle Bumpers is a fourth-year journalism major and the sports editor of The Alligator. In his free time, he cries about Russell Wilson and writes an outrageous amount of movie reviews on Letterboxd.

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