The Colts finally tore the Band-Aid off and selected a highly-touted quarterback prospect for the first time in Chris Ballard’s tenure as general manager when they selected Anthony Richardson with the fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft. Years of going to the well with a veteran QB that’s best days are behind him are finally over and fans can finally hang their collective hats on the promise Richardson shows and the hope that Shane Steichen can harness it and make him flourish at the pro level.
Richardson, by all accounts, is extremely talented and athletic but also very raw and will need a lot of work to be fully ready to step in as a starter. In my opinion, the Colts need to do everything in their power to get him ready to be the Day 1 starter for the 2023 season. Not halfway through the season, not 2024, but this year’s Week 1 starter when the season opens up. The only way to learn is by doing and Richardson needs to see as much live action as possible out of the gate.
Not only so he can get a feel of NFL action but also the speed of the game compared to the college level, the athleticism he’ll be lining up across from and being able to prove himself when it’s full contact. All things you can’t get from practice against teammates in minicamp, training camp or game week practices. Not only will it give a chance for him to get familiar with the league but it will also give him a trial by fire approach of being QB1 for a franchise, helping him build leadership skills, camaraderie and chemistry with his skill position teammates and seeing how he handles all of the demands and pressure that come with a franchise quarterback.
The Colts could very well be planning to move him along slowly. Get him familiar with everything and plan on giving him a season to learn under Gardner Minshew. That’s all commendable and a solid plan but the odds of all of that happening to a T are slim and none. Not only because the rumbling from fans on a game in and game out basis will grow louder as the season goes on but because there are no assurances that Minshew will stay healthy throughout the entire 17-game season.
I’d much rather see a Colts team lose with Richardson than win with Minshew because you know the latter is only temporary and not a long-term answer. At least with Richardson, even if losses pile up, he’ll be building that scar tissue of successes and failures and know what he has to do heading into Year 2 to be even better.
The Colts aren’t winning anything in 2023. The AFC is loaded and the AFC South got a legit injection of young QB talent with Richardson, C.J. Stroud and Will Levis joining Trevor Lawrence. Use 2023 as a season to see what you’ve got in Richardson. Don’t baby him, let him show you where he can take this franchise. He played in the toughest conference in college football and flashed enough skills to make him worthy of the fourth overall pick. Ride with this kid from Day 1.
To listen to our interview with IndyStar Colts reporter Joel A. Erickson about this very subject, click the link below and be sure to listen to Kevin & Query every weekday morning from 7-10 on 93.5 &107.5 The Fan!
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Trackside with Curt Cavin & Kevin Lee