WITH THE 4TH PICK IN THE 2023 NFL DRAFT, THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS SELECT: ANTHONY RICHARDSON, QUARTERBACK, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
The Colts have done it. General manager Chris Ballard has taken the swing on a young face of the franchise. To quote my guy Li Shang from Disney’s Mulan: “Tomorrow the real work begins.” And now, the Colts have to “make a man” out of their new, fresh, inexperienced quarterback.
Former University of Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson was selected 4th overall by the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night in Kansas City and now the weight of a franchise that has been starved for great quarterback play since that fateful night in late August 2019 will have the hopes and dreams sitting atop of his massive shoulders.
I asked Anthony in his post-draft press conference how it felt to be stepping into a franchise that has been known for elite quarterback play and to carry the legacy of guys like Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. This was his response:
“It means a lot. For one even having that whole franchise trusting and believing in me, that means a lot to me. I’m ready to get to work. And like you said, two legends that played before me and I’m ready to carry that torch.”
I imagine he’s going to be doing a lot of “carrying” out on the field. Richardson is the most athletic player at the position that has ever tested at the NFL Combine. He makes spectacular plays with his legs and his arm. Things that make you question what is possible on a football field.
We’ve heard the term “Alien” used to describe the type of physical specimen he is. But beneath all of the physical tools is what makes him a special player and prospect. It’s the type of human he is. A human that if football wasn’t in the cards for him wanted to serve his community as a career fireman saving lives. He still harbors that same desire to serve his community and it’s evident in his words when asked about the subject.
“I definitely want to be out in the community. Growing up I didn’t have anybody to look up to. I didn’t have anybody to help me. I didn’t have anybody to give me advice. So, I definitely want to be involved in the community and help the younger generation.”
It will take patience. It will be bumpy. There will be growing pains. But new Head Coach Shane Steichen and Co. will embrace it. Richardson won’t have to do it alone. On the prospects of now lining up on offense with Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr., Richardson says, “I mean those guys are great. On their own. All I have to do is get them the ball and they will be able to do the rest. I’m excited to just get them the ball.”
In an AFC Conference loaded with elite QB talent (Mahomes, Burrow, Allen, Lawrence, Herbert, Jackson, Rodgers, etc.) Chris Ballard took the home run shot. He didn’t settle for a single. He didn’t want to just get on base. He didn’t play scared. He wanted to take the player that can break the league. Now the Colts will have to foster that talent and allow it to blossom. This was a risk, but the reward can be greater than anything we might have seen in the NFL at quarterback.
I asked Richardson if he had one message to Colts fans what he would like to say to them:
“Thank you. Thank you for trusting and believing in me. For the whole franchise. Let them know I’m ready to get to work.”
To throw it back to Li Shang: “Let’s get down to business. To defeat the AFC.”
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Want to better familiarize yourself with how GM Chris Ballard has fared in his drafting efforts ahead of Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft? Read our recent article which ranks the aforementioned drafts: HERE