Don’t say Indianapolis Colts coach Shane Steichen got his next Jalen Hurts in Anthony Richardson, selected fourth by Indy Thursday night.
That’s unfair to Hurts, who was a better collegiate player than Richardson and has developed into a marvelous pro. But Steichen is gambling that Richardson – with the proper seasoning – could develop into something better. And if raw talent was the only factor, he might be right.
Indianapolis Colts Draft Anthony Richardson
Richardson is the ultimate variance player. His ceiling is the heavens. His floor is the Earth’s core.
And with just 13 starts in his college career, it’s fair to expect some growing pains in Year 1 – and perhaps even Year 2.
But the Colts – who have not had a true franchise quarterback since Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement – have time on their side.
So if they take their lumps in 2023, it’s not the end of the world. They are not going to compete this year in a loaded AFC, and probably won’t even compete in an AFC South with the ascendent Jacksonville Jaguars.
And if they have a high draft pick in 2024, they can trade it for a treasure trove of picks, just like they saw the Arizona Cardinals did right before they went on the clock.
Richardson – who is a unicorn physically but a flawed quarterback, at least on tape – desperately needs the help. And he desperately needs the reps. The Colts should give him all of them – once they deem him ready (enough).
Sure, start Gardner Minshew or Nick Foles in the opener.
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But if Richardson isn’t on the field by Halloween, Jim Irsay should get involved. After a wild first 30 minutes, the Colts were left taking the third quarterback in the draft’s first four picks Thursday.
QBs went 1-2 (Bryce Young-C.J. Stroud), but when the Houston Texans traded up from 12 to 3, the Colts knew they would have their choice of Richardson and Kentucky’s Will Levis.
They went with the bigger upside.
Steichen turned Jalen Hurts into an MVP candidate and helped him become the NFL’s second-highest-paid player (after Lamar Jackson got his on Thursday).
He loves mobile quarterbacks with big arms. Richardson fits the bill.
Don’t judge Richardson by his college stats (54.7% completions, 7.4 yards per attempt, 24 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions). And don’t even judge him by his Year 1 stats. The Colts have limited personnel on offense, so he could take his lumps like Justin Fields – who has a similar skill set – did as a rookie.
The Bears figured out how to use Fields through trial and error. Steichen won’t need to do that. He already has a blueprint on how to use a player like Richardson.
And it’ll be up to that player to make the comparisons to Hurts justifiable.
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