Colts 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft 4.0: Post free-agency fixes
The Indianapolis Colts select QB Anthony Richardson with the 4th overall pick in the first round
In this mock draft, the quarterback situation played out similarly to how it was described above. The Carolina Panthers took Bryce Young, quarterback out of Alabama, with their first overall pick leaving the Houston Texans to select CJ Stroud, quarterback from Ohio State, with the second overall pick. However, based on recent happenings at pro days, it is looking more likely that the Panthers will select CJ Stroud with their first-overall pick or could trade out seeing some of the quarterbacks as equals. The Texans could also only be sold on one quarterback and pass on others.
Nevertheless, depending on how you rank them, the top two quarterbacks are off the board and the Arizona Cardinals at third overall selected Will Anderson Jr, an edge rusher out of Alabama. This left the Indianapolis Colts sitting at fourth overall with players like Will Levis (quarterback Kentucky), Christian Gonzales (cornerback Oregon), and Tyree Wilson (edge Texas Tech). In this mock draft, I had the Colts select quarterback Anthony Richardson out of Florida.
I was fortunate enough to attend the 2023 NFL Combine in person on the day Richardson performed. He competed against Stroud and would have been in the same group as Young had he performed as well. Richardson blew away the competition in the athletic drills setting several combine records. His 40 1/2-inch vertical jump was the best by a quarterback since 2003. His 10' 9" broad jump tied that record-holding quarterback (Matt Jones, Arkansas) that was set in 2003. He also ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash which placed him fourth out of all QBs who have run the forty at the combine since 2003.
Richardson weighed in a 244, filling out a 6-foot-4 1/4" frame. He looked built compared to the other quarterbacks and let his athletic feats shine in this domain. In the passing drills, he was able to air out the ball deep to receivers but struggled a few times with accuracy. He was competing, essentially, directly with Stroud who had some accuracy issues of his own but showed a more polished form.
Chris Ballard has always liked drafting athletic players and Richardson fits that mold. His height at this position is also something that will benefit the team. Richardson balled out in his last season at Florida throwing for over 2,500 yards with a 53.8% completion percentage. He threw the ball over 300 times last season scoring 17 touchdowns with nine interceptions. He was sacked 13 times en route to a passer rating of 131.0.
He was also active on the ground rushing 103 times for 654 yards and nine touchdowns. His longest run was 81 yards which landed him tied for 23rd out of all college players for the longest run of the season. Three quarterbacks ranked higher than Richardson with Boise State's Taylen Green having the longest run of any quarterback at 91 yards. In Richardson, the Colts are getting someone that new head coach, and quarterback whisperer, Shane Steichen can mold and develop into a dominant force in the league.