This is a pivotal year for the Colts organization. After a few years of mediocrity and then this year (lol), the team now has a chance to 'reset'. And what an interesting year to do so. Here, I am just going to cover the 2023 Qb options in the draft; their strengths and weakness, and what I think the Colts will/should do.
BRYCE YOUNG --- MENTALpro comp: Russell Wilson/Drew Brees
Bryce is different compared to past Alabama QBs. Tua and Mac Jones had far better teams in college to work with. What Young was able to do with Alabama the past two years is remarkable, which is weird to say given Alabamas track record. My hesitation with him is his size and arm strength. I heard recently he was looking to had 15-20 pounds so that will be interesting to see at the combine. His arm strength is a bigger question mark for me. Can he push the ball down the field 25-40 yards before a defender closes on the receiver? In college he could, but NFL speed makes it a totally different game. But man is his mental processing fast. His progression through his reads is NFL ready right now. And that is rare to find in a QB coming right out of college.
CJ STROUD --- ACCURACYpro comp: Geno Smith/Joe Burrow
Stroud's stats in college are other-worldly. The issue with that is he had NFL talent all around him in both the past 2 years. Is he able to do the same with lesser talent like Bryce Young did? I think he can, but it is a present risk. The most important intangible a QB can possess is accuracy. CJ has that and more. Looking through his tape is so fun because he rarely misses a WR across the middle of the field. He can both spin the ball with speed or float it right over a defender with nice touch.
WILL LEVIS --- PHYSICALpro comp: Carson Wentz/Justin Herbert
The best thing going for Levis is his size/strength and the perk of playing in an NFL-style offense. He excels at quick slants and throwing into those short tight windows. In the NFL that is greatly prized because of the difficulty in scoring in the redzone. As Colts fans, we know that all too well. Levis would be an upgrade in that department. But in other departments I have questions. His throwing motion is, well, lets just say different. It works for him most of the time but on throws where he needs to drive the ball 30-40 yards down the field, he tends to just 'flick it' and throw without setting his feet. This results in a lot of hang-time that NFL defenders drool at.
ANTHONY RICHARDSON --- ATHLETICISMpro comp: Lamar Jackson/Tyrod Taylor
Just imagine Richardson next to Jonathon Taylor in a heavy rpo-style offense. With the right offensive approach and investment into the o-line, good luck NFL defenses. Picking Richardson would possibly get me the most excited out of the bunch simply because of the potential with him. But Richardson is as raw as raw gets. He would need to take time to develop. My question is: does this team and the fans have the patience for it?
In short, there is no clear-cut #1 qb in the draft. I assume most scouts are split, there is no consensus. But this is such an interesting QB class because each prospect excels in a different category. Bryce Young is mentally prepared for the NFL. He can adapt on the fly and extend plays when needed. Stroud has NFL-level accuracy, especially down the middle of the field. Will Levis physically fits the part. And Richardson is an athletic freak. Ideally, you would love to put all these traits together into one prospect and call it a day. Those players are generational. (Close your eyes). Those players are Andrew Luck. Joe Burrow. Patrick Mahomes. They are hard to find, and harder to get. The question the Colts have to face is, which intangible do you bet on and try to add to it?
I would argue that the biggest offseason move the Colts make is not the QB they eventually take, it's the head coach and the staff they bring with them. These four prospect all have the capability to be very good in the NFL, but each will take time (some more than others). Having a great coach and offensive staff is imperative in their development.
MY PREDICTION:Colts move up to the #1 pick and choose CJ STROUD
This is a shot in the dark. There are so many different ways this offseason can go, but here goes my shot. Say what you will, but Chris Ballard is an elite talent evaluator. Sure, he's had a some misses in the draft, all GMs do. But he hits often on his draft choices. Ballard is also known to be veryyyy conservative, often trading down. There is absolutely NO ROOM to do that when picking your franchise QB and trying to save your job. Ballard will find 'his guy' and move up to get him. Doesn't matter who that guy is. Expect a trade up. When I hear what Ballard wants in a QB, Stroud fits the mold well. He is extremely accurate, and during that Georgia playoff game, was able to show he could extend plays running out of the pocket.
My eyes will be heavily focused on the Draft Combine this year. Things will be very interesting.
Let me know what you guys think should/will happen in the comments.