With the 2023 NFL season kicking off on Thursday, all 32 teams will soon start their journey towards hopefully winning Super Bowl 58. However, only one team will be champions after the season. While the Lombardi trophy is the most important and coveted trophy, it’s not the only award handed out at the end of the season.
Every season, the NFL hands out several individual awards, from MVP to DPOY and more. While the Indianapolis Colts aren’t expected to contend for a Super Bowl during the 2023 season, they do have a couple of players that could be in the conversation for an individual award. One of those players is rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, and he’s definitely a name to watch for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Can Anthony Richardson win offensive rookie of the year?
Barring an injury, Richardson will start all year for the Colts, and that certainly gives him a chance to be in the conversation. Additionally, his dual-threat ability makes him an intriguing candidate. Richardson should be an instant impact player with his legs. The question will be his passing. If he develops quickly, and can put competent passing with his otherworldly athleticism, Richardson has a chance to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
However, there’s a reason why Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson is the favorite to win. Adding a dynamic running back like Robinson to Atlanta’s dominant run offense is a recipe for something special. Richardson, who has the third-best odds to win the award, will need a special rookie year to upset Robinson.
All offseason, everyone has argued that a good rushing attack and a dominant defense is the key to helping Richardson get adjusted to the NFL. With Jonathan Taylor sidelined, Indy’s run game is a question mark, but defensively, the Colts are getting one of the league’s best players back: Shaquille Leonard.
Shaquille Leonard has a chance to be the Comeback Player of the Year
The last full season that Shaq Leonard played was in 2021, and he had a Defensive Player of the Year caliber season. In 16 games, Leonard recorded 122 tackles, four for a loss, eight forced fumbles, three recovered fumbles, and four interceptions. Unfortunately, his work wasn’t recognized by the voters; regardless, it was clear that he was one of the best players in the league.
Unfortunately, Leonard followed that season up by playing just 74 snaps over three games last year. Now, Leonard is back healthy and will be on the field for the Colts this season. If he looks like the 2021 version of the Maniac, he has a chance to win the Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Leonard and Richardson seem like Indy’s best chances at winning individual awards for the 2023 season. However, you never know what’s going to happen in the NFL, so there’s a chance another Colt could break out and win an award.