Colts take a big swing on QB Anthony Richardson

The Indianapolis Colts may finally be treated for an Andrew Luck hangover.

When Luck retired, the Colts set out on the path of gaining second chance veterans at the end of their careers, hoping to get something out of them and then move on to the next one. Bottom fell last season with Matt Ryan struggling hard, and the Colts found themselves with the No. 4 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. It’s time to finally fix your quarterback stance.

Say this about picking ponies: They didn’t play it safe.

Anthony Richardson’s score range is as wide as any quarterback… perhaps ever. If Richardson turns his worldwide physical gifts into one or two of his best seasons, will it really surprise anyone? Or, would it be quite a shock if Richardson, with all 13 college starts and plenty of questions about his NFL readiness, didn’t develop those impressive skills and get out of the league quickly?

Anything seems possible with this pairing. That’s what makes it fun. If you’re going to invest in a midfielder, you can do that as well with a player who has a really elite cap. There is no doubt that Richardson has it.

The moment Richardson was drafted, he became the most physically impressive quarterback in the NFL. He may have had the best drill a quarterback has ever collected. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash at 6-foot-4 and 244 lbs. He’s sitting combination record With a vertical jump of 40 1/2 inches and tying the 10-foot-9 wide jump record. He has an elite arm and rushed for 1,116 yards and 12 touchdowns on 161 attempts in college. Physically, there are no questions about Richardson. Colts manager Chris Ballard said the team decided a month ago that he was their target. It’s not hard to see why.

“He can spin it,” said new Colts head coach Shane Steichen to the media after selection. “He has a huge arm.”

If a physical sample is all there is to playing quarterback, the Colts are set for a while. But that is not the whole story. Richardson has issues with mechanics that have led to inaccuracies. Most inaccurate quarterbacks in college don’t make huge leaps on the field in the NFL, but Josh Allen did and now that will be the new paradigm for broadcast teams.

“I think the only thing we’re seeing in the league now is, you guys, you can work on them and they’re more accurate,” Ballard said. “Football, fundamentals, and there are certain things I think you can do. I think you’ve seen guys jump in this league. I think you’ll see him jump.”

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Richardson may not have much time to sit back and develop. The Colts have Gardner Minshew II on the roster as a bridge. The QB and Ballard have tried to preach some patience with the rough rookie—”Let’s not expect him to be a Superman from day one,” Ballard said, while noting that some quarterbacks take a season or more to develop—but won’t be. There is a lot of patience among the fans. Fourth overall picks don’t often last a full season. It will be hard to resist putting him in the squad when he shows off his talent in practice and pre-season games. The Colts have more talent than most teams in the top five, and if they start slow with Minshew this season, it’s going to be hard to be patient.

Richardson is among the rare top five quarterbacks who must sit out an entire season. The test for the Colts would be how long they could wait before becoming starters.

“He’s going to have to do the growing up, like all of them,” Ballard said. “But we will help him. We will bring him in and he will be a good player.”

It’s a franchise-changing pick for the Colts. one way or another.

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson celebrates with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Here are the rest of the winners and losers from the first round of the NFL Draft:

The winners

Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles were the best team in the 2022 NFL regular season, and came very close to winning the Super Bowl. On Thursday, they may have taken the MVP of the draft.

The Eagles moved up one place from 10th to 9th to hold off Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter. The Eagles earned this 10th overall pick due to a trade to the New Orleans Saints in last year’s draft. Carter had problems off the field—Carter pled no contest to a reckless driving and racing case after a car accident that led to the death of Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and hiring staffer Chandler Lecroy—and a terrible daily workout. Some teams moved away from him. He slipped a bit and the vultures pounced.

The Eagles added to their seventh lead next by taking Nolan Smith, a standout athlete from Georgia, with the 30th pick overall.

But Carter could make or break Philadelphia’s recruiting season. At times last season, Carter was touted as the best player in the draft class of the year. It’s a massive tackle that can have dominant stretches. There are more questions about him now, but the Eagles can afford to gamble on the upside. Fits the need for them on the inside of the defensive line. It could end up being a huge move for Philadelphia.

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Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals’ night didn’t start well. Before the draft began, news broke that they had illegally manipulated Jonathan Gannon when they were talking to him to be their next head coach, and had to work out a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles to settle the matter.

Their night got better.

The Cardinal made a clever, potentially game-changing trade to the Houston Texans, who were clearly eager to move to the third overall pick of Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. , which could be very good if the Texans don’t make a big jump this season. Any draft value chart The Cardinals would win this trade decisively. They’ll enjoy that extra bit first (which It was the choice of Texasnot the one acquired from the Cleveland Browns in the Deshaun Watson trade), which could actually be as high as the first overall pick if Houston were to struggle again.

The Cardinals then moved back to sixth and acquired Ohio State offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr., a tackle they had been associated with in the days leading up to the draft. The Cardinals need a lot of talent and new general manager Monty Ossenfurt is responsible for rebuilding the roster. The first round of his first draft went well.

Lamar Jackson and the Crows: News of Jackson’s term extension came hours before the draft began, but it still made both sides winners on draft night.

Jackson landed a deal that made him the highest paid player in NFL history. The Ravens have earned the quarterback franchise. Baltimore could enter the draft with a clear head about the direction the franchise is going rather than wondering how it all happened. They had a clean cut when they took Boston College’s “Z. Flowers” receiver with the 22nd overall pick. This is a good choice to go with recent addition Odell Beckham Jr. And Jackson tweeted his excitement about picking flowers right before the announcement.

It was a good day for Jackson and the Ravens before the draft started.

losers

Will Levis: We remember the midfielders who have to wait a while to be selected. The Levi’s fall draft was big and will be remembered for a long time.

Levis was getting some (mostly unexplained) buzz as the first or second pick of the draft earlier this week. Then he fell. Passed him teams need at quarterback. Teams that could have used a developmental QB behind their veteran player, such as the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions, have passed by several times.

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Levis has his faults, but it was amazing to see him go down as much as he did.

Undo the deniers: Anytime someone on social media suggests a first-round paraphrase, the same arguments are made about topical value. Two teams ignored that yell for their first 12 picks.

Bijan Robinson going eighth overall to the Atlanta Falcons had been speculated for a while, and it came as no surprise when the Falcons selected Robinson. This selection has been questioned because the Falcons had a good rookie season from the fifth round pick Tyler Allgeier last year and have plenty of other needs. Robinson is a good prospect but he was a debatable choice.

Jahmir Gibbs’ selection to the Detroit Lions at No. 12 came as a shock. Lions just signed David Montgomery and have D’Andre Swift. The Lions need to overhaul the defense and fall back from No. 6 when they could have taken a defensive player like Jalen Carter or Terry Wilson. With the #12 pick they got, they took 199 pounds back when that might not be a weakness on the roster. Gibbs is a fun playmaker but he was a surprising choice.

Both options will be subject to a lot of criticism. But at least the Racers resist the idea that they’re completely devalued in the modern NFL.

Wide receivers, tight ends: During the weeks leading up to the draft, it was said several times that this year’s draft future class was nowhere near as good as the last few. The tight final layer was said to be good.

It took a while on Thursday before the pass catcher got off the plate.

Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba was the consensus WR1 of the class, but he went in later than most expected draft picks. It passed some teams that could use a receiver. He had an injury-plagued 2022 and maybe that’s why he lasted until the 20th pick, where the Seattle Seahawks took him. This run has begun. TCU receiver Quentin Johnston went with the next pick to the Los Angeles Chargers. Boston College receiver Zee Flowers went 22nd to the Ravens. USC’s Jordan Addison went 23rd to the Minnesota Vikings. So the receivers rebounded starting with the 20th pick.

Tight ends waited a little longer. When one finally went, it was in a good spot to land. Dalton Kincaid went to the Buffalo Bills with the 25th pick.

It wasn’t the worst night for receivers and tight ends. But it wasn’t the blessing we’ve seen in the last few years.

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