The Indianapolis Colts surprised a lot of people recently when they selected Anthony Richardson out of Florida with the fourth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Coming into the proceedings, Indy was strongly linked to Kentucky passer Will Levis.
As it turns out, though – that was just misdirection.
According to team owner Jim Irsay, Richardson was the target all along. He said as much to the media after the fact.
“If we had the first pick in the draft, we’d probably take Anthony,” Irsay said. “I always felt like Richardson was going to be the guy we went with, early on.”
Irsay also maintained that his young stud would play in 2023-24.
“You get better by playing,” Irsay continued.
“I mean, practice and preseason games and watching in a quarterback room, that’s great. But, man, I’ll tell you, he’d get better by playing, and it’s something that it is really important. Because, again, his development [is] so much of a key to the franchise’s future. It is the critical key.”
Colts general manager Chris Ballard was similarly high on Richardson.
“I didn’t want to look up and watch him be a superstar somewhere else,” Ballard said. “If he’s gonna be a superstar, he’s gonna be a superstar for the Colts.”
So how ready is Richardson? Fans got a glimpse this week, when his first ever pass as a member of the Colts went mega-viral.
Video: Anthony Richardson 1st ever throw with the #Colts at practice.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) May 5, 2023
Richardson was the Gators’ starting quarterback this past season and completed a mere 53.8 percent of his passes. Along the way he amassed 2,549 passing yards and 17 passing touchdowns to go along with nine interceptions.
How that will translate to the next level remains to be seen.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/jAhdZC9nQw
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 6, 2023
But arguably nothing was a bigger surprise than Indianapolis taking Richardson where they did.
He has as high a ceiling as any first-round quarterback taken in the last 10 years, but also a pretty low floor.
Will Richardson evolve to become the Colts’ franchise player? Time will tell.