INDIANAPOLIS – Just one more look before the final answer comes on Thursday night.
Our fourth and final mock draft look is here with the continued trend of quarterbacks for the Colts.
But, unlike our third mock draft look, that consensus has evolved from the Anthony Richardson tidal wave.
Here is the final compilation of Mock Drafts for 2023:
King’s Analysis: I don’t believe the Colts will trade to two, so let’s put a kibosh on that. This one has risen up over the last week or so, and I’ve heard so much here that I’m not sure at all what to believe. Seems way too high for Levis, and I will not be stunned if Roger Goddell announces Anthony Richardson here. Levis’ IQ and football IQ are both strong, and that appeals to the Colts. He’s a favorite of the Mannings, and that appeals to the Colts (though an overrated factor in the public’s mind). And the Colts, it seems, have to pick Levis or Richardson to get off the quarterback-a-year merry-go-round. It wouldn’t surprise me if coach Shane Steichen leaned Richardson and used Gardner Minshew or Nick Foles as the 2023 interim while getting Richardson ready for 2024. This will be an interesting pivot point of the draft, and Levis going here would leave Seattle and Detroit smiling widely at picks five and six.
Miller’s Analysis: The latest buzz around the NFL continues to focus on the Colts preferring Kentucky’s Will Levis over Florida’s Anthony Richardson due to his NFL-readiness and background in a pro-style offense, but none of that matters with Stroud surprisingly still on the board. After being schooled in Ohio State’s timing-based system, Stroud has the arm strength, toughness and mobility to fit the Shane Steichen offense. He isn’t Jalen Hurts, whom Steichen worked with in Philly, but he is a solid mover in and out of the pocket and has the arm talent to make every throw. With the Colts backed into a corner, quarterback has to be the play in Round 1. One league source with knowledge of the Colts’ thinking said they might ultimately flip picks with the Cardinals but that would be an “on-the-clock” move and not one that happens pre-draft.
Brugler’s Analysis: Like the Texans, the Colts shouldn’t be considered locks to select a quarterback in the top five this year. It would be understandable, however, if Indianapolis decides Richardson is worth the risk. There’s been so much talk about Richardson’s ceiling, but with his size, mobility and general feel as a passer, I am encouraged by Richardson’s floor as an NFL QB. His development mentally will decide that ceiling.
Davis’ Analysis: It seems as every draft approaches, at least one prominent prospect finds himself trying to deflect negative narratives. On that front, the last few weeks have hardly been kind to Stroud, who seemed like a 1A choice – at worst – to Young on the quarterback front following the scouting combine. But even if Houston passes, hard to believe Stroud will tumble far, especially given the lack of stability Ballard and Co. have endured under center since Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement four years ago. An exceptionally accurate passer with the Buckeyes (69.3% completion rate in college) who would benefit from the tutelage of new Indy HC and QB guru Shane Steichen, Stroud could certainly do worse than coming to a team that’s usually competitive and features a runner (2021 rushing champ Jonathan Taylor) who could carry much of the load. Stroud (6-3, 214 pounds) was productive (85 TD passes, 12 INTs, 182.4 passer rating over last two seasons) and athletic – but has been inclined to extend plays to throw rather than break the pocket, though he admits he should probably tuck the ball and dash a bit more. He was spectacular in his final game for the Buckeyes, a 2023 College Football Playoff semifinal loss to Georgia, passing for 348 yards and four TDs against a Bulldogs defense that is almost NFL-caliber. He could be the man to stabilize a position that’s been a merry-go-round of aging veterans since Luck’s departure.
MOCK DRAFT TOTALS
In each installment of the mock draft looks we will total up all the positions pundits have pegged for the Colts throughout the draft process:
QB-Anthony Richardson (7)
QB-C.J. Stroud (5)
QB-Bryce Young (4)
QB-Will Levis (2)
Bowen’s Analysis: It’s not often you see a team drafting No. 4 overall have one position pegged to them throughout our four mock draft looks. But that’s the case for the QB-starving Colts, with all 18 mocks, spread across four months, going QB for Indy. And it’s even more interesting to note three different QBs among the four mocks explored here in the final week. About 10 days ago, the name for the Colts in the mock draft world was Anthony Richardson, by virtually everyone. Now, some indecision has crept in with a *rising* Will Levis and a *falling* C.J. Stroud. So, the questions here would be some potential scenarios for the Colts. Would Stroud win a board if the Colts get on the clock at No. 4 with Stroud, Levis and Richardson all available? Would Richardson win a board with him and Levis on it? The Colts have been extremely tight-lipped throughout this process, with uncertainties at No. 2 with Houston and No. 3 with Arizona certainly impacting how things will look for Indy. It’s quite the drama at the biggest/most difficult decision this franchise has faced in years.
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