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Colts GM Chris Ballard Knew QB Anthony Richardson Was His Top Target ‘A Month Ago’

The Colts landed on Anthony Richardson as their guy at least a few weeks ago — following extensive scouting.

2023 NFL Draft - Round 1 Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

According to Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard, he knew that Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson was his top draft target around a month ago with the #4 overall pick—although his scouting department had been in on him for a while:

“A month ago,” Ballard said during Thursday night’s post-Day 1 presser. “Yeah, after we spent time with him. You know after we spent our time, worked him out, spent a lot of time with him. Just felt really good about who he was as a person. You know, of course he’s still young, but felt really good about who he was.”

“We spent an entire day with him down in Florida. I think we actually worked him out. I know there were some comments that other teams got to see more. I think when we worked him out, we got to see a lot. Because we got to put him through drills with just us, and then we brought him to the building and spent another full day with him.”

That being said, the Colts scouting department—and namely chief personnel executive Morocco Brown had been scouting the highly athletic Gators sophomore quarterback since August of last year, when making a special trip to Gainesville, Florida:

“I give our scouts credit now,” Ballard added regarding the extensive prior work put in. “You know Morocco Brown went in and like back in August, I’m getting these text messages from Morocco who’s at Florida practice saying, ‘You should see the show I’m watching on this practice field right now.’ So we have some awareness of who he was and what his talent level was a while ago.”

We know the Colts took a chartered plane to visit Richardson at least twice in Gainesville over the past few months during the pre-draft evaluation process—maybe even more.

Of course, another factor in the Colts decision-making beyond Richardson’s film and his high character is that he simply blew up at the NFL Combine in early March—where he measured out as arguably the most athletic quarterback of all-time in NFL history.

For Ballard, who has always valued high-end traits at least at other positions than quarterback, that had to have been another key factor in ultimately landing on Richardson a few weeks ago.

While there was recent buzz that the Colts coveted Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, or hadn’t decided on a quarterback entirely—even to the point where they were still deliberating on Wednesday, it turns out that Richardson had been their top choice for at least a while.