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With Seahawks’ Carroll and Schneider watching, QB Anthony Richardson shows his tantalizing talent at Pro Day

Anthony Richardson of Florida participates in a drill during the NFL combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 4 in Indianapolis.  (Tribune News Service)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

SEATTLE – As if to acknowledge that he knows the dominant theme in his draft scouting reports, quarterback Anthony Richardson uncorked a throw Thursday during his pro day that hit the ceiling of Florida’s indoor practice facility.

“The talent is there,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said recently. “The old cliché is he can either make your draft or break your heart. He’s boom-or-bust. That’s Anthony Richardson.”

In other words, he may have as high of a ceiling as any quarterback in the 2023 draft class – which the 6-foot-4, 244-pounder showed with another impressive display of throwing and athleticism during his pro day.

In part because of his age – he doesn’t turn 21 until May – and inexperience with just one full season as a starter at Florida, questions persist over how NFL ready he is, and how long it might take him to develop.

The Seahawks are undoubtedly interested as coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider stood behind Richardson for his throw that hit the ceiling – and almost all of the other 62 he was reported to have made on the day, with 54 completed.

“He was really impressive,” Schneider said Thursday afternoon on his weekly radio show on Seattle Sports 710-AM. “He has a ton of physical talent, there’s no question about that. But there are definitely questions there like there are with all these guys.”

Richardson said he took some inspiration from Kentucky’s Will Levis hitting the ceiling at his Pro Day at Kentucky last week.

“I’d seen Will Levis do it,” Richardson told reporters. “Thought I’d see if I could put a hole through it. … I haven’t done that before. I just tried to showcase my arm, I have a big arm, but I hit the roof.”

Richardson ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the combine and recorded a 40.5-inch vertical leap, which combined with his size make him one of the most intriguing quarterback prospects in years.

Richardson didn’t run or do other drills Thursday, deciding to stay with his combine numbers.

Teams such as the Seahawks wanted to see him throw, the one aspect of his game that is drawing the most questions. He completed just 53.8% of his passes last season and had a 17-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio, though he had a 12-to-2 ratio in his last six games.

He also ran for 654 yards and nine touchdowns, including an 81-yarder vs. LSU.

The Seahawks’ visit to Florida capped what has been an eight-day sojourn to attend the pro days of each of the top four QBs (along with Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Levis) that was interrupted by four days of attending the league’s annual meeting in Phoenix, as well as Schneider flying back to Seattle on Saturday to manage the re-signing of Bobby Wagner.

And yes, the Seahawks punctuated the trip to Florida with another QB-taken selfie, something Schneider said Thursday was the idea of new quarterbacks coach Greg Olson. Schneider said the Raiders had done something similar when Olson was on their staff and suggested it again when they had their first pro-day visit last week at Ohio State.

“We did it, gave to the PR (public relations) department and it took off from there,” he said.

Schneider said at the league meetings that he and the rest of the team’s coaches and scouts who have been attending the pro days will return to Seattle this weekend and start “studying” for the draft, which begins April 27.

Those study meetings figure to help crystallize if the Seahawks really are interested in drafting a QB to add to veterans Geno Smith and Drew Lock. They haven’t often carried three QBs on the 53-man roster.

That’s where Richardson’s “boom-or-bust” potential could be especially intriguing as the Seahawks have time to let him develop – especially if they could get him by moving down some from the fifth pick and adding a pick or two in return.

Some mock drafts have Richardson going in the top three, but others have him 20 or below, making him maybe the most polarizing player in this year’s draft.

The trip to Florida on Thursday also served to renew acquaintances. The Seahawks met with Richardson at the combine, and he raved about the meeting in an interview with ESPN saying he felt an “instant rapport” with Carroll.

“He had this big smile on his face,” Richardson said, according to ESPN. “We shook hands, and something about it was just different. You only see these guys on TV. And now I’m in their presence and they’re right there talking to me. And they’re interested in me. That makes you feel good.”

As was the case at other pro days, the Seahawks weren’t focused solely on a quarterback.

They got a good look at Florida guard O’Cyrus Torrence, generally projected as a first-rounder and a player many have mocked to the Seahawks at No. 20 as none of their interior offensive linemen are under contract beyond 2023.

Torrence quelled some concerns by weighing in at 330 pounds after playing previously near almost 350, saying he knows NFL guards tend to play in the 330s at most.

But it was Richardson who wowed the most. That pro days are staged an in a comfortable environment throwing to teammates means most QBs tend to look good. Richardson did, as his accuracy was better than at the combine.

He left the Seahawks and every other team with one last reminder of why he is so tantalizing, throwing his last pass for roughly 70 yards and racing down field while executing a cart wheel and a back flip, though later acknowledging teams may not want him to do that too often because of injury.

“I didn’t stick the last one at the (scouting) combine,” Richardson said. “I just said ‘OK, I may have to just stick a back flip so that was it for the last one.’ ”