NFL experts explain the reasons Colts should immediately start Anthony Richardson

Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA;  Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson on stage after being
Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson on stage after being / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts finally have a quarterback in Anthony Richardson and NFL experts believe Indy should start Richardson from day one.

After years of veteran quarterbacks on the wrong side of their peak, the Indianapolis Colts finally have a promising young quarterback after drafting Anthony Richardson with the fourth-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. While Richardson’s future is bright, the current conversation about him is when should he make his debut.

Will Indianapolis sit him his first year, throw him right into the fire, or gradually work him into the lineup this season? Team owner Jim Irsay has already made clear that he wants Richardson to play as a rookie, but will defer to head coach Shane Steichen for when the first start will come. Veteran quarterback Gardner Minshew, who will be QB1 for the Colts if it isn’t Richardson, has echoed Irsay’s sentiments, saying young quarterbacks need to play to get better.

Now, other players and analysts are weighing in on this conversation. In a recent episode of NFL Total Access, veteran defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, and former NFL linemen and current analyst Brian Baldinger, shared their reasoning for why they think the Colts should start Richardson in Week 1.

Suh explained that Indy should just play Richardson to see what he has, arguing that he will have time to develop on the field by playing with a strong running game and running back in Jonathan Taylor. Baldinger echoed that sentiment and added that Richardson won’t gain any experience from the sidelines, and that Richardson’s athletic ability will allow him to survive on the field while he improves as a quarterback.

Can Colts support a rookie Anthony Richardson?

Suh and Baldinger bring up important points. Richardson’s athleticism certainly will allow him to make things happen on day one. What the two really pointed out, though, is the importance of a supporting cast. While the question has been if Richardson will be ready to start, a better question is will the Colts be ready for Anthony Richardson to start?

Richardson is going to make mistakes and have growing pains, that’s par for the course for young quarterbacks. What’s really important is that Richardson is in an environment that will aid his growth. If the Colts can actually provide Richardson with a solid run game, dependable weapons, and good pass protection, he absolutely should start on day one.

Those factors would give him a confident environment to grow. Unfortunately, Indianapolis didn’t have those things last year and that’s why Matt Ryan is now working for CBS Sports and why the Colts were even in a position to draft Anthony Richardson. That can’t be the case if Indy wants to start Richardson early and actually give him a chance to grow.