Colts Could Add Quarterback Compared to Super Bowl Champion: Analyst

Jeff Saturday

Getty Interim head coach Jeff Saturday and the Indianapolis Colts could bring in a quarterback this offseason who is drawing comparisons to a Super Bowl champion.

Will Levis will not play another season at Kentucky. It’s possible that his next game will be with the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts enter Week 13 with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. In his first mock draft for next year, The Athletic’s Dane Brugler predicted Indianapolis to chose Levis, who declared for the NFL on November 30, with that No. 14 selection.

“Where the Colts go from here to address the quarterback position is a mystery,” Brugler wrote. “The veteran route obviously hasn’t worked, but is there a quarterback in this year’s draft worth targeting in the mid-first round?

“Though Will Levis has struggled to elevate the Kentucky offense this season, the Wildcats’ recently-fired play caller (Rich Scangarello) and a shaky supporting cast deserve blame as well. Levis still should check enough boxes (well-built, athletic, power arm, super competitive) to entice a quarterback-needy team, like the Colts, in the top half of Round 1.”

Levis was the third quarterback off the board in Brugler’s mock draft. The only two signal callers who went before him in the mock were Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud.

Levis Compared to Super Bowl Champion, 2009 No. 1 Overall Pick Matthew Stafford

On November 3, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranked Levis as the second-best quarterback in the class. Kiper also compared Levis to Los Angeles Rams signal caller Matthew Stafford.

“Levis’ stats aren’t going to impress as much as Stroud’s or Bryce Young’s,” Kiper wrote. “He doesn’t have a great supporting cast of playmakers around him.

“But when I went through his first 16 starts at Kentucky, I was really impressed with his game. Levis has a rocket launcher for an arm and makes some ‘wow’ throws. That has gotten the Penn State transfer into trouble at times, but it’s clear watching him that he believes he can fit the ball into any window.

“My comparison is Matthew Stafford.”

ESPN’s Chris Low reported in September that an NFL personnel direction said he “sees a lot of” Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen in Levis.

Based on Kiper’s draft skinny from November, that makes a lot of sense. Allen is on pace to set an NFL record for most accumulated offensive yards in a single season, but he is also tied for the league lead with 12 giveaways.

As Kiper referenced, Levis never posted huge numbers at Kentucky. He threw for 2,406 yards with 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a senior. Over his last 24 games, he has tossed 23 interceptions.

But Levis was efficient outside of the turnovers, averaging at least 8.0 yards per pass and posting a completion percentage better than 65% during each of his last two seasons.

In 2022, Levis has recorded an 8.5 yards per attempt average with a 65.4% completion percentage. He may still play in Kentucky’s bowl game to finish his college career.

Indianapolis’ QB Situation for 2023

As Brugler stated, what the Colts are planning behind center for next season is a mystery. But one thing is pretty evident — the team’s current starter, Matt Ryan, is past his prime.

Ryan will turn 38 in May, and Indianapolis could cut the veteran to save a little more than $17 million of cap space next year.

In that situation, the Colts are still on the hook for $18 million with Ryan. So it’s possible Indianapolis keeps Ryan for the final year of his deal and still drafts Levis. That would give Levis the opportunity to learn from a former MVP winner.

Sam Ehlinger is a variable in Indianapolis’ sticky situation behind center as well. The Colts praised Ehlinger all preseason and benched Ryan in favor of Ehlinger after Week 7. In two starts, the 24-year-old posted a 61.5% completion percentage with 304 passing yards.

The final five games of the 2022 season will have a major impact on what Indianapolis does at quarterback this offseason. But selecting a signal caller such as Levis in the top half of the draft is certainly on the table for the Colts.

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