Apr 27, 2023 - Sports

Colts bet their future on Anthony Richardson

Anthony Richardson poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who holds a Richardson Indianapolis Colts jersey, at the NFL Draft.

Anthony Richardson (left), pictured with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, was selected by the Indianapolis Colts as their franchise quarterback. Photo: David Eulitt/Getty Images

The Colts have bet their future on a phenomenal athlete — and inexperienced quarterback.

Driving the news: Indianapolis on Thursday selected Anthony Richardson of Florida with the No. 4 pick in the NFL Draft.

Why it matters: The Colts' quarterback position has been a carousel of broken dreams since Andrew Luck's shocking retirement ahead of the 2019 season.

  • NFL playoff contention requires a strong, if not elite, quarterback.

Between the lines: Richardson shot up draft boards after his otherworldly performances at the Combine and pro day, with his elite athleticism yielding the possibility he could have landed as high as at No. 2.

  • He’s an athletic freak. His 4.43 40-yard dash time was the fourth-fastest among QBs since 2000 and the throwing display he put on at his pro day was awe-inspiring.
  • At 6-foot-4, 244 pounds, he’s also huge.

Yes, but: He started just 13 college games, making him only the second Football Bowl Subdivision quarterback in the past 20 years to be drafted in the first round with so few starts after Mitchell Trubisky in 2017.

By the numbers: In his lone season as a starter at Florida, Richardson threw for 2,549 yards and 17 TD against 9 interceptions with an inefficient 53.8% completion rate.

  • He added 654 yards and 9 TD on the ground.

What they're saying: The Colts aren't committing to Richardson as the starter right away.

  • “We drafted him for what we really think he can be in the future," Colts GM Chris Ballard told reporters.

Catch up fast: The Colts had a two-decade run of superstar quarterbacks between 1998, when they drafted Peyton Manning, and 2018, Luck's final season.

  • This will be the seventh consecutive year in which the Colts play week one with a different starter than the previous year.
  • The team finished 4-12-1 last season and benched Matt Ryan, a former MVP.

Of note: Richardson is among three Black quarterbacks selected in the top 10, the first time that has happened.

The bottom line: Richardson has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in the draft, but comes as a huge risk for a franchise that can't afford to miss.

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Indianapolis.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Indianapolis stories

Indianapolispostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Indianapolis.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more