NFL mock drafts are pouring in just a week and a half into the official 2023 offseason.
The Indianapolis Colts are projected to trade up to No. 1 to select Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson in the upcoming draft, according to a mock draft from CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso.
Trapasso said he expects Richardson to rise in the draft order through his performance at the NFL combine, which begins February 28 on the Colts’ home turf.
“I think Richardson is going to emphatically remove the lid from Lucas Oil Stadium at the NFL combine,” Trapasso said. “That will lead to the Colts taking a chance on him, given the hiring of former Eagles (offensive coordinator) Shane Steichen as head coach.”
Steichen’s play-calling experience with various quarterbacks (Philip Rivers, Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts) helped him stand out to the Colts as a head coaching candidate. According to Trapasso, that could be a factor in the Colts potentially trading up for Richardson.
“Richardson has similarities to Jalen Hurts and All-Pro upside,” Trapasso wrote.
Richardson’s Evaluation as QB Prospect
Last November, Bleacher Report’s Derrik Klassen touted Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Richardson as the top three quarterback prospects in the upcoming draft. Just a couple weeks into the offseason, his evaluation has changed.
Richardson has now risen to No. 2 in Klassen’s QB rankings, per a tweet from Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski. Klassen named Stroud his new top QB prospect, while Young has fallen to No. 3.
Klassen, who covers NFL Draft prospects, tweeted that Richardson deserves more credit than solely being labeled as a ‘raw’ talent.
“The more people watch AR, the more they will realize there’s more to work with as a pocket manager and processor than generalizing him as a “raw” prospect gives him credit for,” Klassen wrote. “Also he’s a cyborg.”
Klassen compared Richardson to two current NFL QBs with similar attributes but different outcomes to start their pro careers.
“My line of thinking w/ him (Richardson) isn’t all that different about how I felt about both Trey Lance and Justin Herbert,” Klassen tweeted. “Herbert hit his high end of outcomes and Lance is [to be determined], but that’s the archetype [in my opinion].”
Klassen has previously said that Richardson is neck-and-neck with Will Levis for the best arm in the upcoming draft class. He did, however, note that Richardson lacks experience more than anything else.
“Richardson is an incomplete prospect,” Klassen wrote on February 13. “He only started one year in college, with plenty of rough edges to smooth out as a passer.”
One interesting aspect of Klassen’s new QB rankings is that he doesn’t believe Levis will be drafted in the first round. A January mock draft projected the Colts might even trade up from No. 4 to No. 1 to select the Kentucky signal caller.
Colts Acquire Free Agent CB
The Colts made an offseason addition on February 22 by signing free agent cornerback Kevin Toliver II, Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay announced via Twitter.
Toliver II is a five-year NFL pro who began his career as a 2018 undrafted free agent with the Bears. He spent two full seasons with the team before he was released during training camp.
In 2020, Toliver II appeared in two games with the Denver Broncos before an ACL tear ended his season. He was signed by the Ravens in 2021 but did not play in any games. Baltimore released Toliver II last May.
In 29 career games, Toliver II has notched 32 total tackles and four passes defended.
Last season, cornerback Brandon Facyson started four games (and appeared in 16) for Indianapolis but is set to become a free agent this spring. Signing Toliver II adds more depth and size (Toliver II is listed at 6-foot-2) to the Colts’ secondary.