With the 4th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select Quarterback Anthony Richardson from the University of Florida. In a night full of trades and surprises, Indianapolis stood pat at pick 4 and (reportedly) got the quarterback they wanted since the decision was made a month ago by the front office. Richardson will bring a strong work ethic and youthful injection to the Colts locker room.
The Colts are getting a QB they have never seen on any Colts roster before. He has a quick release, great arm strength, speed and elite mobility. He does have some questions with experience and accuracy. Richardson only has 12 starts at Florida but his athleticism stands out above it all. He called himself an "alien." He is 6’4 and 244 lbs and is only 20 years old. He ran a 4.43 in the 40 at the combine and had a vertical at just over 40 inches. Having Steichen as the new head coach allowed the franchise to broaden their choice of pick at #4. Steichen has proven he can churn out production with quarterbacks by successfully coaching Philip Rivers, Justin Herbert and most recently, Jalen Hurts. Richardson allows Steichen to completely open the playbook and accentuate his strengths.
As mentioned above, the greatest trait that Richardson possesses is his elite mobility. The new NFL has essentially eliminated the "statue" pocket passer we once saw. The league is more spread based offenses that require the quarterback to be mobile, extend plays, and less reliance on running the football. Having a quarterback with these traits almost gives you an extra 12th player on the field with that extra mobility, as the defense must be aware and respect the mobility. In his two seasons at Florida, he had TD runs of 45, 60, 73, 80 and 81.
Will Richardson Be Ready Week 1?
Ballard and his staff did their due diligence with all the QBs this time around. Even going out west to look at BYU QB Jaren Hall, who has a mid-round grade. They also had a Top 30 visit with Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker as well. Ballard has already asked for tempered expectations in year one, as Richardson is only 20 years old and has only 12 starts under his belt at Florida. Gardner Minshew was brought in as the backup QB this season because of his familiarity with Steichen’s scheme. We could see Minshew as a "bridge QB" now until Richardson is ready. You typically don’t draft a prospect this high and not start them immediately. He would be best suited to start Week 1 and learn by struggling and finding his way at the leader of this football team.
Ballard’s Legacy On The Line
Ballard is placing his legacy (and job status) on the line with the youthful and raw Anthony Richardson. In the end, he had no other option. Playing Rent-A-QB as he has since the abrupt retirement of franchise QB Andrew Luck in 2019, has brought him a 45-52-1 record with only one playoff win. Anyone who knows this franchise well, knows that Owner Jim Irsay always makes his opinion known but I believe Steichen had the largest say in the final decision. Richardson and Steichen will now be tied to one another for at least 4 years as that’s the contract of all 1st round picks and Steichen is on a 6 year contract. This pick will allow Ballard to at least finish out his contract that runs until 2026 regardless of how Richardson’s first season goes. Colts’ fans will need to be patient with Richardson and implementing the new scheme. Ballard has staked his legacy on this young prospect and while he hasn’t shown his ability to build consistent winning team, the ceiling and talent on Richardson could finally lead the Colts back to prominence.
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