We need to talk about Anthony Richardson and the Indianapolis Colts.
Everyone is talking about the San Antonio Spurs when it comes to lottery luck and the opportunity to draft franchise changing generational players, but what about the Colts?
Peyton Manning was the first overall pick in 1998, won more MVP’s than anyone in NFL history, and brought Indy a Super Bowl.
Andrew Luck was the first overall pick in 2012, set the NFL rookie record for passing yards, and made four pro bowl and an AFC championship game before his body ultimately broke down.
And now they’ve got fourth overall pick Anthony Richardson, who many believe has all the same tools as Andrew Luck, despite not statistically proving that at the collegiate level.
In 1998, the Colts tossed Peyton Manning the keys and never looked back. In 2012 they did the same with Andrew Luck.
They have no reason not to do the same with Anthony Richardson.
But will they?
Peyton Manning threw the ball 35 times per game as a rookie, leading to 28 interceptions, a rookie record that stands to this day.
Andrew Luck threw the ball 39 times per game as a rookie, and while the Colts won 11 games as opposed to the 3 games Peyton Manning won as a rookie, Luck still produced an AFC-leading 18-interceptions.
That’s the freedom I want for Anthony Richardson. The ability to match or exceed the 36 pass attempts per game that the 4-win Colts had last year so that a player that desperately needs the reps can figure things out for himself without having to worry about whether he’s going to get replaced.
And since this is the organization that has done this twice before, there’s no reason not to grant him that freedom and confidence.
I’m just not sure they will.
Whether it’s that the NFL has become such a win-now league, or that Jim Irsay flirted, jokingly or not, with the idea of drafting Will Levis in addition to Anthony Richardson, or even the other, very obvious difference between Richardson and the two other quarterback on this list- it seems as if the odds are stacked against Richardson being given that same level of freedom.
But what could it hurt?
Even Josh Allen, who paved the way for Richardson to be such a high pick with his physical gifts far outweighing his college production, took the occasional brea from trucking linebackers to toss the pigskin 30 times a game as a rookie. And it was rarely pretty- but look at him now.
For the Colts, and the rest of the country, to know if Anthony Richardson has what it takes to justify his draft slot, we’re going to need to see him cook.
Let’s hope the Colts let him have complete control of the kitchen.