Could Colts repeat the quarterback draft history that made everyone upset?

1994 NFL Draft
1994 NFL Draft / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

In the 1994 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts made a quarterback decision that upset some people. Could the 2023 NFL Draft be a repeat for Indy?

The Indianapolis Colts currently have the No. 4 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. This isn’t the first time the Colts have had a top five pick. Throughout the history of the franchise, they have picked in the top five several times. In the 1994 Draft, Indianapolis had two picks in the top five: No. 2 and No. 5.

Usually, a team can’t go wrong with two top-five picks. However, on draft night back in 1994, people were convinced that Indy had made a mistake. The Colts selected running back Marshall Faulk at No. 2 and linebacker Trev Alberts at No. 5. The problem, though, was that Indianapolis didn’t have a quarterback.

Instead of picking Trent Dilfer, the top quarterback of the 1994 Class, Indy skipped over him twice before he was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 6. This led to the Colts being heavily criticized, mainly by Mel Kiper. The result was an exchange of rants between Kiper and Indy’s general manager Bill Tobin; an exchange that may live forever.

Kiper argued that it was a mistake for Indianapolis to not draft Dilfer when the team was in desperate need of a franchise quarterback. He went on to say that’s why the Colts were the laughingstock of the league and why they are always picking towards the top of the draft.

However, obviously Tobin and Indianapolis weren’t sold on Trent Dilfer, so they didn’t select him. Now, almost 30 years later, the Colts could find themselves in a similar position. They very clearly need a franchise quarterback, but at No. 4, it’s unclear if they’re sold on any of the guys that are expected to be available. Could the 2023 Draft be a repeat of the 1994 Draft for Indianapolis?

Could 2023 Draft be a repeat of 1994 Draft for Colts?

There’s no telling what will happen come draft night. Indianapolis could get the quarterback they want at No. 4 and he could go on to become the team’s franchise QB for at least the next decade. That’s what everyone is hoping for. However, it’s all possible that Indy could have to take the fourth QB, and that QB could be a prospect that Indianapolis isn’t really sold on.

If that happens, the Colts would have to decide if they want to take a quarterback because they really need one or just select a player that they really believe in that addresses another need. Much like in 1994, Indianapolis will be criticized if they don't select a quarterback, regardless of who the prospect is.

However, it ultimately worked out for the Colts in 1994. The ended up being an average team with Jim Harbaugh at quarterback for the next three seasons, going 26-22 with two playoff appearances. In 1997, that all stopped and the team finished 3-13. They ended up with the No. 1 pick in the 1998 Draft and selected Peyton Manning.

Would that have happened if Indy selected Trent Dilfer back in 1994? Is that a gamble the Colts are willing to take in 2023?

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