The Indianapolis Colts hold the fourth pick, No. 35 overall, on Day 2 of the 2023 NFL draft. Conventional wisdom says the franchise should use that selection to begin surrounding rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson with other talent on offense.
Colts owner Jim Irsay, though, is anything but conventional. On April 28, he may have hit an all-time high in wackiness.
Less than 24 hours after drafting Richardson to be the team’s future franchise quarterback, Irsay asked on Twitter whether the Colts should draft Kentucky’s Will Levis in the second round.
“Colts Fans…would you take Will Levis at #2 if you’re on the board for the Colts in 4 hours from now???” Irsay asked in his tweet. “…and go Montana-Young for Franchise??”
Of course, Irsay is referring to the glory days of the San Francisco 49ers when they had two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks on their roster in Joe Montana and Steve Young.
Montana led the 49ers to back-to-back Super Bowl championships during the 1988 and 1989 seasons. But San Francisco traded Montana to the Kansas City Chiefs after Young emerged as an MVP candidate while Montana was injured.
Young then led San Francisco to another Super Bowl title in 1994.
Irsay seems to be pondering whether the Colts could recreate that quarterback scenario.
QB Will Levis Falls Out of First Round in 2023 NFL Draft
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer and ESPN’s Matt Miller linked the Colts to Levis in the days prior to the draft. But Indianapolis executed a strong smokescreen, instead drafting Richardson at No. 4.
Then after falling out of the top 4, Levis kept dropping. Quarterback-needy teams such as the Las Vegas Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans, and Detroit Lions went elsewhere with their selections.
Levis is now still available at the beginning of Day 2.
The question heading into the second round of the draft is whether Levis fell on the board because of a trivial factor or was he severely overhyped in mock drafts?
The answer could be a combination of the two. But if a team needing a quarterback finds his fall unjustified, it will likely target Levis early on Day 2.
How Richardson-Levis Would be Different than Montana-Young
Irsay’s tweet suggested that the Colts could be one of the teams considering Levis early in the second round.
But having Richardson and Levis would be quite different than the situation the 49ers had with Montana and Young.
For one, Montana had already won two Super Bowls by the time Young arrived in San Francisco. Young began his career six years after Montana, which allowed the team to maximize Montana’s prime and then transition quickly to Young.
Richardson and Levis are two rookies who are obviously both beginning their careers at the same time. Only one can be the starter with the Colts, and if they were both in Indianapolis, they’d compete for the starting role.
A competition between two rookie quarterbacks drafted in the first two rounds has never happened. But similar quarterback competitions have caused rifts in the locker rooms.
That happened in San Francisco as well. But the 49ers navigated it because they had a terrific roster and Hall of Fame coaches. The Colts would be wise not to hand their first-year head coach Shane Steichen a similarly messy situation.
Perhaps Irsay wasn’t completely serious with his question on Twitter about Levis to the Colts. But it’s such a questionable suggestion, it’s hard to imagine why Irsay would even ask it.
The Colts drafted Richardson at No. 4 overall, and the entire organization, including Irsay, needs to get behind that selection. Not play the what-if games to create drama on social media.