clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Colts’ Top Brass Believes In What Newly Drafted QB Anthony Richardson Can Become

Both general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Shane Steichen have high hopes for Richardson’s development.

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

Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard felt the initial tension, as his draft room hoped that Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson would slide just one pick further to the #4 spot on Thursday evening—ultimately, ending up excited (and maybe even sweaty) as the franchise landed their top target:

However, he still cautioned that Richardson is a young quarterback with a lot of work to do at the next level—although he envisions what he can eventually become:

“You’ve seen the draft room,” said Ballard on Thursday evening during his ‘Day 1’ post-draft press conference. “It got a little tense at #3, but we’re excited. Did a lot of work on Anthony (Richardson). Spent a lot of time with him over the last month, and think he’s a good fit for us. Let’s don’t crown him yet, alright? He’s a young player that’s got work to do.”

“But we like his talent. We like what he can be.”

In particular, along with assuredly his super-freak athletic measurables, the Colts and Ballard liked Richardson’s mental makeup and his surprisingly strong pocket poise—despite his youth and limited starting experience collegiately:

“What I can tell you is that we drafted him for what we think he can really be in the future,” aded Ballard. “He’s a very smart young man. Good kid. He works. We think it’s all in front of him, so we’re excited to get him.”

“Look, he’s young. He’s young, but he’s very poised. I think you see it when he plays. Like when you look at his (play), he’s a very poised young man, even though he hadn’t had a lot of starts. The one thing that I kept going back and watching was all his pressures, everybody that pressured him, and that’s when you really saw his poise come to light, like any young man. I mean he turns 21 here in the middle of May. So he’s going to have growing to do like all of them do, but we’ll help him. We’ll help him. We’ll bring him along, and he’ll be a good player for us.”

Richardson’s special pocket presence was also a strong sentiment that was shared by new Colts head coach Shane Steichen, who was sitting alongside Ballard on Thursday evening:

“When you watch his pressure in the pockets, just his movements in the pocket, feeling the rush, not seeing it,” said Steichen. “Being able to get out of the pocket and create the explosive plays that he does, it’s pretty dynamic.”

However, Steichen also emphasized Richardson’s playmaking and and his overall physical skill-set as among his immediately striking attributes:

“Obviously, the tape was the first time I saw him,” added Steichen. “Just his playmaking ability. What he brings from a playmaking ability. His physical skill-set is impressive. Obviously, there’s a lot of work that we gotta do with the whole team—not just him. But there’s certain things that he brings to the table as a football player that we’re so excited about as a football player and the future of this organization.”

With his accuracy being one of the major critiques of Richardson by draft pundits throughout the last few months, Ballard believes that’s one area the Colts can assist him with and that Richardson can improve upon in time:

“Guys, you can work on and get them more accurate,” said Ballard. “Just footwork. Fundamentals. Just certain things that I think we can do, and I think you’ve seen guys jump in our league. And I think you’ll see him jump.”

Namely, both Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who Steichen previously coached as offensive coordinator, and the Buffalo Bills Josh Allen are recent success stories of quarterbacks who significantly improved their accuracy at the pro ranks (and are now bona fide NFL MVP candidates).

However, Ballard still cautioned that while expectations are high, and Richardson can eventually wear a cape (and change in a phone booth), the former Florida Gators standout is very much a work in progress like most rookie quarterbacks in the NFL:

“Let’s don’t expect him to be Superman from Day 1, and I think history shows that there’s not many of them that are Superman from Day 1,” noted Ballard. “Some of them, it takes 2-3 years to become really good players.”

After all, while former Colts franchise quarterback Andrew Luck largely hit the ground running in 2012, he was much further along in his development than Richardson as one of the most ready #1 overall picks in NFL history—as well as a generational talent.

Meanwhile, despite obvious initial flashes of greatness, even legendary Colts quarterback (and future NFL Hall of Famer) Peyton Manning led the league in interceptions as a rookie in 1998, which is an NFL record that still stands to this day—meaning initial patience will be required as growing pains are expected, particularly regarding Richardson’s passing game.

However, the Colts not only love what Richardson brings to the table today, but especially what he can bring tomorrow—and ultimately become.