According to PFF’s Marcus Mosher, the Indianapolis Colts are projected to trade up for Kentucky quarterback Will Levis with the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft—in his recent mock draft:
1. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: QB WILL LEVIS, KENTUCKY
via mock trade with Bears
PFF Big Board Rank: 3
The Colts are in desperate need of a franchise quarterback and can’t afford to wait and see who’s available at No. 4. Instead, they move up to No. 1 and take Will Levis. Bryce Young is the more polished (and probably better) quarterback, but general manager Chris Ballard loves traits, and that’s what Levis has going for him. It’s a risky pick, but the Colts must swing for the fences to compete in the AFC South moving forward.
The listed 6’3”, 232 pound senior quarterback completed 185 of 283 passes (65.4%) for 2,406 passing yards, 19 passing touchdowns, and 10 interceptions during 11 starts for the Wildcats in 2022.
Levis is highly regarded for his size, big arm, and quick release—with the mobility to extend and make plays outside of the pocket. However, there are some continued issues with his decision-making, lower body mechanics, and progression through reads:
The most fascinating discussion in drafts meetings around the league will involve Will Levis. Great tools but the production and performance doesn’t add up to a Top 5/Top 10 player. The Josh Allen comp will keep him in the convo, but the film is so-so at best.. #NFLDraft https://t.co/Y73hUYl7WV— Bucky Brooks (@BuckyBrooks) January 21, 2023
Just my opinion: Will Levis needs to get to an all-star game. He has a skillset (arm strength, agility, powerful frame) that will shine in an all-star setting AND he can spend a week around NFL coaching and get ahead of the things he'll need to work on pre-Combine/Pro Day.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 11, 2023
Turnovers continue to be the biggest minus on Will Levis’ scouting report.— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) October 1, 2022
The traits and flash plays are evident, but his internal clock and decision making must improve. Carson Wentz will continue to be a comparison for him.
In my personal opinion, I get that some of Levis’s physical tools are tantalizing and fit the modern day ideal QB prototype, but I can’t but help get the same vibes that Colts fans just got from failed starter (and former Philadelphia Eagles top pick) Carson Wentz.
No need to repeat.
(*Not to mention, he’s already a little older for a rookie prospect, which is a factor in his development).
At #4 overall (or in a trade up), it makes more sense to go with the surer thing such as Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, who have a lot less questions marks (featuring upgraded accuracy, decision-making, and their progression through reads).
Maybe their potential pro ceiling isn’t quite as high as Levis’s, but it just seems to me like either’s floor is a lot higher—and either is much more likely to reach consistent success at the next level than Levis, all things considered.
And if the Colts are going for the toolsy, high ceiling route, go for Florida’s Anthony Richardson instead—who arguably has the highest upside of any quarterback in this class.
It’s not that Levis cannot be a great quarterback at the next level, but there’s a lot more of a ‘boom or bust’ profile than either Young or Stroud atop the NFL Draft.
Maybe this article will end up on Freezing Cold Takes some day, but my preference would be to go another route entirely—especially in a potential trade up scenario.