Colts 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft 3.0: Chris Ballard gets uncharacteristic
The Indianapolis Colts draft QB Anthony Richardson in the first round (4th overall)
In this scenario, my beloved "stick-n-pick" method works out. Well, that is if you're a fan of Anthony Richardson. If you aren't necessarily fond of Richardson and his game, maybe this next sentence will help alleviate some of the pain from missing out on both Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. Yes, that's right. Stroud and Young went off the board in consecutive selections.
"The Cardinals took.. a quarterback?" you ask. "With all that guaranteed money tied up to Kyler Murray?" you add. No, actually. The Carolina Panthers' GM Scott Fitterer went all-in by mortaging away some current, and future draft capital for the star-studded coaching staff that he has assembled. One who has former Colts HC Frank Reich now leading the charge.
The Cardinals must've been content with moving back six spots (from 3 to 9) after missing out on Will Anderson Jr. (CHI, No. 1) and are worrisome of Jalen Carter's future with recent allegations coming to light. Carter would end up falling to the Seattle Seahawks at fifth overall, while Arizona came away with a solid consolation prize with Clemson's Myles Murphy at ninth overall.
With Ballard staying put at fourth overall and resisting the urge to move future picks for a better selection, the Colts are now in prime position to not only reload now, but in the future. Now that I've provided context to how this all unfolded, let's dive into why Anthony Richardson to Indianapolis may just work, and work well.
Anthony Richardson is certainly a polarizing prospect amidst draft discussion this offseason. He exudes unreal potential, but with boom, comes the bust. He presents an uninspiring career, in terms of box score production, to the table. Only a one-year-starter at Florida with minimal playing time in the season prior, we've only just began to understand what Richardson is. Better yet, what he can be.
Athletically speaking, and wow is he athletic, Richardson is a 6-foot-4, 231 pound dual threat QB prospect who is expected to flirt with a 40-yard-dash in the 4.4s on Saturday. Not to mention he has a cannon of an arm. If you don't believe me, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler said that an NFL GM has said Richardson is, "Cam Newton and Justin Fields combined." You can disagree with that GM but at the least, come away understanding the potential with Anthony Richardson.
Richardson's biggest concerns are that of his accuracy and efficiency in the passing game. He posted a pass completion percentage of 53.8% this past season. Through the first six weeks, Richardson threw for a 5-7, TD-INT ratio, but added five TDs and 286 yards on the ground.
This stretch included a single play which perfectly represents why the intrigue regarding Richardson is warranted. In this clip against Tennessee, he showed why he has low accuracy numbers with a rather unorthodox throw. That's the thing, he can make that throw. It's about perfecting his footwork so that unreal highlights like so will become normalized, because as you can see, his pocket presence is second to none.
Despite an unattractive TD-INT ratio amidst that recently mentioned first half stretch, Richardson visibly improved over the course of his last six games as a Gator. The latter half of his season concluded with a 12-2 TD-INT run while he was still dominant in the run game, tallying 368 yards and four scores.
Anthony Richardson has a solid case for potentially being the best QB from this year's draft class. His mistakes can be fixed and newly anointed head coach Shane Steichen agreed with that sentiment when he said at his combine press conference that, "yes, you can teach accuracy" and "you have to see the future."