According to ESPN’s Matt Miller (subscription), not only will Indianapolis Colts new quarterback Anthony Richardson win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2023, but his much anticipated arrival in Indy will eventually pave the way for the Horseshoe to return to greatness:
Make your early call for Offensive Rookie of the Year
Miller: Anthony Richardson, QB, Indianapolis Colts (No. 4). (Bijan) Robinson is a great selection, but for the sake of variety, I’ll mention Richardson in a surprise move. He should play early in Shane Steichen’s offense and has the dual-threat ability to rack up huge stats as a passer and runner to get him some hardware after the 2023 season.
Make one bold prediction about this class for five years from now.
Miller: Anthony Richardson and the Colts will be on top of the AFC South. He has immense talent as a passer and runner and his fit in Shane Steichen’s offensive system will reignite football in Indianapolis. Even with Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville, Indy could take over this division. Richardson’s raw ability is unlike anything we’ve seen in football. So in five years, Richardson will be a top-tier starting QB and the Colts will be Super Bowl contenders.
Now, expectations should be tempered a bit, as Richardson turns just 21 years old in a few weeks and is still developing as a passer—with limited collegiate starting experience. That being said, his surprisingly strong pocket presence and high-end physical tools are there to ultimately become a Top 5 NFL quarterback and perennial MVP candidate—if it all truly clicks.
New Colts head coach Shane Steichen can deploy the dual-threat Richardson similarly to how he utilized last year’s breakout NFL MVP candidate Jalen Hurts with the Philadelphia Eagles last year—then as the reigning NFC Champions’ offensive coordinator and play-caller.
If the Colts utilize Richardson’s legs, simplify the offensive playbook around his dynamic rushing ability, and lean heavily on workhorse Jonathan Taylor and the ground game, there’s no question that Richardson can make an immediate impact—even as a rawer rookie. Teams are awfully nervous having to defend both Richardson and Taylor in the RPO game already.
Bigger picture though, and Colts general manager Chris Ballard even recently mentioned this, the Colts needed to swing for the fences here—especially in a loaded AFC that already boasts Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, and Trevor Lawrence at starting quarterback among teams. The Colts needed an ‘alien’ of their own to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’ so to speak—although not Jerry in this instance. We’re talking more like Alien vs. Predator, but on a football field.
If the Colts can ultimately develop Richardson, who landed in the best situation (which Miller also pointed out) with Steichen, this will have been a surefire home run. Steichen has the patience, experience with talented young quarterbacks, and gifted mind to properly develop Richardson at his own pace—as a former QB himself. And yes, that could mean in five years, the Colts are finally Super Bowl contenders again—maybe even a little sooner.
*However, just remember, there will be initial growing pains to hopefully one day reach the promised land.