Indianapolis Colts NFL Draft Grades 2023: Colts Get New QB1 With Anthony Richardson, Secure UNC WR Josh Downs

    What are the Indianapolis Colts' grades for their selections in the 2023 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

    Chris Ballard is firmly planted in one of the hottest seats in all of the NFL. With the fourth pick and robust draft capital, what kind of NFL Draft grade did Ballard command with the work he did for the Indianapolis Colts?

    Indianapolis Colts NFL Draft Grades

    Round 1, Pick 4: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

    The fit between Shane Steichen and Anthony Richardson is a match made in heaven. His vertical passing attack fits like a glove with the big-armed quarterback, and his ability to cultivate a rushing attack that can maximize his quarterback’s athleticism is unquestionable. Steichen’s Eagles offense was one of the most efficient rushing attacks in recent history.

    It will take time for Richardson to round into form as an NFL QB. He’s incredibly inexperienced and needs to really sharpen up his lower-body mechanics before he can be a consistently accurate passer to all three levels of the field. However, he’s far more naturally accurate already than he’s given credit for, particularly when things are lined up correctly in his lower half.

    Grade: A

    Round 2, Pick 44: Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State

    The Colts always find a way to take a defensive back that I don’t necessarily love from a tape perspective, but they always find a way to make me look like an absolute fool with DBs. This could very well end similarly.

    From a physical skill set perspective, it doesn’t get much better than Julius Brents. At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds with 34-inch arms and as much explosiveness as you could ever ask for, this is an unbelievable upside pick. Brents has had some injuries in his lower body throughout the years, but they haven’t zapped any of his explosive potential.

    The Colts had a massive need for a CB, and they got one that fits the Gus Bradley Cover 3 scheme perfectly.

    Grade: B

    Round 3, Pick 79: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

    Chris Ballard has often coveted size at the position, but with Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce already entrenched as starters, sliding Josh Downs into the slot is a fantastic fit. Some mock drafters had Downs going 20th to the Seahawks, and the small receiver has drawn comparisons to Tyler Lockett because of his ability to be a three-level threat.

    He’s also an outstanding playmaker above the rim and an easy separator against man coverage. Getting Richardson another playmaker is a great choice for Ballard, and the value is outstanding.

    Grade: A

    Round 4, Pick 106: Blake Freeland, OT, BYU

    The Colts needed to take a swing or two on Day 3 at the offensive line, and taking the athletic upside Blake Freeland possesses is a nice swing to take.

    Grade: B+

    Round 4, Pick 110: Adetomiwa Adebawore, DT, Northwestern

    Day 3 of the NFL Draft is about taking swings, and Adetomiwa Adebawore is a huge home-run swing. He is a moldable, athletic ball of clay on the defensive line that already play with an unbelievable motor.

    Grade: A+

    Round 5, Pick 138: Darius Rush, CB, South Carolina

    The Indianapolis Colts are cleaning up. Darius Rush has a lot of learning left to do at the CB position, but he is a fantastic athlete, and the Colts have been good at developing defensive back talent throughout the years.

    Grade: A

    Round 5, Pick 158: Daniel Scott, S, California

    The Indianapolis Colts continue their pursuit of adding athleticism on the defensive side of the ball with the addition of Daniel Scott.

    He’s not yet a starting-level contributor, but if the Colts can develop his athleticism, they could strike gold.

    Grade: B

    Round 5, Pick 162: Will Mallory, TE, Miami (FL)

    Will Mallory won’t ever be a guy to line up in-line as a tight end, but he is the definition of a modern move TE that could potentially develop into a receiving weapon. The Colts have stuck to the theme of athletic upside throughout the draft thus far.

    Grade: B

    Round 5, Pick 176: Evan Hull, RB, Northwestern

    The theme hasn’t changed. Athleticism is the one and only focus of the Indianapolis Colts. Evan Hull possesses good size and explosiveness while being a threat as a pass catcher out of the backfield.

    Grade: B-

    Round 6, Pick 211: Titus Leo, LB, Wagner

    Titus Leo has the name and look of an NFL linebacker, but if he ever wants to see the field on defense, he must come a long way mentally. However, with his athleticism, he should be able to compete for time on special teams.

    Grade: C

    Round 7, Pick 221: Jaylon Jones, CB, Texas A&M

    Grade: A-

    For the first time in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts decided not to draft a freak athlete to develop at the NFL level. Because he lacks long speed, the Colts may view Jaylon Jones as a safety, but he is a strong cornerback with the short-area quickness to close throwing windows. He is a better player than his draft slot indicates.

    Round 7, Pick 236: Jake Witt, OT, Northern Michigan

    Jake Witt’s journey from college basketball player to tight end to left tackle is fascinating, and it falls back into the Colts’ draft theme. The team is taking athletes and begging the coaching staff to turn these guys into legitimate players. The Colts’ draft has been the definition of throwing darts.

    Grade: B+

    What Were the Colts’ Biggest Needs Entering the Draft?

    • QB, CB, WR, G, OT

    Gardner Minshew might mentor the Colts’ rookie, but he does absolutely nothing that should make fans comfortable with him starting games. Alec Pierce and Michael Pittman Jr. are good players on the outside, but Indianapolis needs a third starter and all the depth at WR.

    CB has become a massive need for a team that looked relatively set there just a short time ago. Trading Stephon Gilmore creates a gaping hole opposite of Isaiah Rodgers. Luckily, the 2023 NFL Draft is filled with intriguing players at the position that the Colts could snag.

    The best thing an organization can do is protect its young QB. Upgrading from Will Fries would help in that regard. Bernhard Raimann might end up being the answer at left tackle, but relying on him to protect a rookie’s blindside is not a good plan of attack.

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