The Indianapolis Colts trading up in the 2023 draft to select a quarterback has been a popular rumor this offseason. With such a move, the Colts would presumably be landing one of the top signal callers, Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, in the class.
But NFL analyst Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus seemed to imply on March 5 there could be a better match. On Twitter, Renner labeled the Colts as an ideal landing spot for Florida quarterback and NFL combine standout Anthony Richardson.
Richardson set the NFL combine on fire with some of his testing numbers on March 4. He set new records for a quarterback at the combine with a 40.5-inch vertical jump and 10-feet, 9-inch broad jump.
Furthermore, Richardson recorded a 4.43-second time in the 40-yard dash. That’s an incredible time for quarterback let alone a signal caller who is 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds.
How Richardson Could Fit in Shane Steichen’s Colts Offense
A great coach will adjust his scheme to the strengths of his quarterback. But with Colts new head coach coming from the Philadelphia Eagles, where he played an intricate role in developing Jalen Hurts, it’s easy to see Renner’s point that Richardson could be a great fit with the Colts.
Hurts didn’t test as well as Richardson did at the NFL combine. In fact, Hurts’ 35-inch vertical jump and 10-foot, 5-inch broad jump was not far off of the results Kentucky quarterback Will Levis posted at the combine on March 4.
But Hurts certainly proved to be a dynamic athlete this past season on his way to being runner up for NFL MVP. In addition to 22 passing touchdowns and averaging 8.0 yards per attempt, Hurts rushed for an NFL-record 18 touchdowns (including the postseason).
In his first three NFL regular seasons, Hurts has averaged 5.2 yards per carry and scored 26 times.
Steichen could look to deploy a lot of the same plays and schemes as he did in Philadelphia should the Colts land Richardson in the draft.
With the Gators, Richardson averaged 6.9 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns in 22 games. He also posted 7.9 yards per pass with 24 touchdowns through the air.
Advantage to Colts Drafting Anthony Richardson at No. 4
In addition to the Colts appearing to be an ideal fit for Richardson, there is one benefit for Indianapolis in a potential marriage as well. The Colts probably won’t need to trade up to draft him.
Coming into the NFL combine, Young and Stroud were the consensus top choices at quarterback in the 2023 draft class. Richardson’s combine performance may not change that, but it could close the gap between the Florida quarterback and the class’s top tier of signal callers.
The more elite quarterback prospects available in this year’s draft, the better for Indianapolis.
Deputy sports editor Nat Newell of The Indianapolis Star proposed in January that it will cost the Colts at least an additional first and second-round pick to move up from No. 4 to 1 in this year’s draft.
One can’t put a price on finding a franchise quarterback. Still, it’s an expensive proposition, especially when Young or Stroud are not guaranteed to be stars.
Richardson isn’t guaranteed to be that either, but with the upside he presented at the NFL combine, Ballard could elect to stay put at No. 4 and keep his other picks. In that scenario, he will have the most draft capital possible to build around Richardson.
Even if Ballard prefers Stroud or Young, Richardson rising the draft board is still a great thing for the Colts. He gives other teams needing a quarterback in the top 10 another option, which will perhaps lower the asking price to trade up with the Chicago Bears or Arizona Cardinals.