The Indianapolis Colts held the fourth overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Outside of Bryce Young, it looked like the Colts might get their pick of three. Rumors swirled up to the night of the draft that the Texans might pass on C.J. Stroud. That created quite the debate across Colts Nation as to whom the Colts should select.
Stroud went second to the Texans, so the decision became a little easier. The choice came down to two: the raw, uber athletic Anthony Richardson and the more experienced Will Levis. Fans were torn. Of course, none of this is news as we all know the history and the ultimate outcome of the draft. What still needs to be written, however, is the future.
Anytime a team picks high in the draft, there comes a sense of you better not miss. Fans spend a lot of time comparing their player to others that were chosen after to help rationalize that their team’s choice was the right one. Fans and teams don’t want to, and maybe never will, admit a mistake. Some of that doubt may be sneaking into the minds of Colts’ fans as their quarterback is out for the season and barely played at all. Overall, it has been a disappointing season from that standpoint.
Meanwhile, Levis has played five games this season entering mid-stream for a Titans team that was going nowhere. He is 2-2 as a starter and outside of the Falcons game, he really isn’t setting the league on fire. What was the real expectation though? He is still a rookie who is learning. There was never a thought that he was going to be in the MVP mix in his rookie season. He is, however, playing, and availability is the best ability. He is getting reps and creating chemistry with his teammates on the field. That is something Colts fans cannot say about their quarterback.
I think it is too early to throw in the towel on Richardson and chalk him up as made of glass. This could be an outlier. A concerning outlier, but an outlier all the same. If, however, Richardson continues down the troubling path of injuries, it is the fastest way to derail a career. How many excellent players, *cough Andrew Luck cough*, had their careers shortened or did not achieve what they were capable of because of injuries?
While that is concerning, I am still backing Richardson as the better choice, especially for the Colts. I audibly cheered on draft night when the Colts picked Richardson instead of Levis. I truly feel that he is the superior choice and player. The “when healthy” part of the argument is concerning, but Richardson will be back next year and should put Colts fan’s minds at ease. Sunday’s results can do a lot towards that front too. A decisive win in which the Colts rattle Levis will sit much better than if he were to surgically carve up the defense. The debate will still take a few years to fully sort out, but Sunday will serve as the start