The Indianapolis Colts saw their former head coach and the Carolina Panthers move ahead of them in the NFL draft order. They can ill afford to let another team to do the same.
That’s why in the latest mock draft from the Bleacher Report NFL scouting department, the Colts are projected to conduct a trade with the Arizona Cardinals to move up to No. 3.
Then at No. 3, Bleacher Report predicted the Colts to select Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson.
“The Indianapolis Colts can’t sit and hope their preferred quarterback prospect remains available with the fourth pick,” wrote the Bleacher Report scouting department.
“Yes, the term “preferred” is appropriate since it became clear the organization wasn’t in love with Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud when it didn’t move to acquire the top pick.
“However, the Colts can make a simple swap with the Arizona Cardinals to land arguably the best prospect for their situation in Florida’s Anthony Richardson.”
If the Colts moved up to No. 3 and drafted Richardson after Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud went No. 1 and 2, respectively, (as Bleacher Report predicted) it would be the second time in three years that quarterbacks went first, second and third in the same NFL draft.
In 2021, quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance were the first three picks.
How Anthony Richardson Fits With the Colts
There are concerns with Richardson, especially if a team has to give up draft capital for the right to land him. He struggles with accuracy, experiences issues with his footwork and must improve at reading defenses.
But he has tremendous upside because of his athleticism. Bleacher Report’s Derrik Klassen identified that as the reason why the Colts could pursue Richardson after moving up to No. 3.
“General manager Chris Ballard loves traits, and no quarterback in this year’s class has better traits than Richardson,” Klassen said. “As a rare athlete for the position, Richardson is a talented quarterback who needs a little bit of love and care to reach his potential.
“On the bright side, Richardson offers exceptional scrambling ability, pocket management and the know-how to avoid sacks, not to mention he’s a decent processor for a one-year starter.”
In his lone starting season at Florida, Richardson recorded 2,549 passing yards and 654 rushing yards with 26 total touchdowns. He completed 53.8% of his passes while averaging 7.8 yards per pass. He also averaged 6.3 yards per carry.
Colts ‘Focused’ on 2023 NFL Draft
Rumors have swirled this offseason that the Colts could pursue Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, which enables him to negotiate with other teams.
But no deal has come to fruition, and on April 12, Colts head coach Shane Steichen all but ended the rumors that Jackson could play in Indianapolis this season.
“We’re focused on the draft and focused on the players that are in the building right now,” said Steichen. “That’s where we’re at.”
The Colts haven’t given much indication that trading up to No. 3 is on the table. Actually, other than Steichen’s comments on April 12, the organization is strongly recommending its staffers to stay quiet about the team’s plans behind center.
Whether they trade up or not, though, Richardson appears to be the most likely choice for the Colts with their first-round pick.
Given the team’s huge need at quarterback, Bleacher Report urging general manager Chris Ballard to move up the board to ensure he lands Richardson makes sense.