Heading into the 2023 NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts will have the fourth overall pick. They are in a prime position to either trade up or select whichever elite prospect falls to them. But regardless of what they choose to do, the decision will likely have long-term ramifications on the future of this franchise.

Once again, the Colts struggled to find success during the 2022 season. For the third straight season, the Colts chose to acquire and start the season with a veteran quarterback. Unfortunately, it did not lead to the season that the team had in mind.

Led by Matt Ryan, the Colts finished the season with a 4-12-1 record. Yet even with their struggles, they still managed to finish third in the AFC South.

Alongside Ryan, the Colts also started both Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles. All three quarterbacks failed to produce at a high level.

With the lack of production on the field, the Colts chose to fire Head Coach Frank Reich. In turn, former Colts offensive lineman Jeff Saturday stepped in as the interim HC.

Now with the season over, the Colts find themselves on the search for a new coach. And with a top selection in the 2023 NFL draft, they will likely look to find their new HC sooner rather than later.

When it comes to how the Colts will address the draft, there are several routes they could go down. With the fourth overall pick, they will have their pick of several options at quarterback. But in a class that boasts several quarterbacks with high upside, they could also choose to add someone in a later round.

Another option could be addressing the defensive front. With both Kwity Paye and DeForest Buckner, they already have two foundational pieces. But by adding another, this group could immediately become one of the best in the NFL.

Whoever the Colts choose to add in the first round, they will be looking for production from day one. Here are three players the Colts should consider with the fourth overall pick.

3. Will Anderson, LB, Alabama

Alabama’s Will Anderson looks to be one of the best defensive prospects in recent history. He can step onto the field and immediately improve any defense that he is a part of. And if the Colts choose to go defense with their pick, he could be the perfect option.

During his three seasons at Alabama, Will Anderson dominated in a way that few other players have in college football history.

Over three seasons, and 41 total games, Anderson stuffed the stat sheet. During his collegiate career, Anderson recorded 114 solo tackles, 204 total tackles, 58.5 tackles for loss, 34.5 total sacks, one interception, and one forced fumble.

During the 2021 season, Anderson put together arguably the greatest season of all time. In 15 games, he recorded 101 total tackles, 31 tackles for loss, and 17.5 total tackles.

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This past season, Anderson took the field in 13 total games. While he didn’t reach his numbers of years past, he still proved to be productive. He racked up 51 total tackles, 17 tackles for loss, and 10 total sacks.

Anderson joining a defensive front alongside Paye and Buckner would immediately make this unit credible. And it could be the exact boost that this defense needs.

2. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

If the Colts choose to head down the quarterback path, two options stand out over the rest. One of them being Alabama’s Bryce Young.

Young, the 2021 Heisman winner, may very well be the first player off the board in the 2023 NFL draft.

During his time at Alabama, Young looked to be the best quarterback in the school’s history. In his two seasons as the starter, he played in 27 total games. He was elite through the air, throwing for 8,200 passing yards, 79 touchdowns, and just 12 interceptions. On the ground, he added seven rushing touchdowns over the two seasons.

While undersized, Young looked to be near perfect at times. He has consistently made the big throws and has single-handedly kept Alabama in games at times.

Now set to take the next step of his career, Young could be a solid option to step in as the Colts QB1.

1. CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Ohio State’s CJ Stroud is the other quarterback that should be atop the Colts draft board. Much like Young, Stroud put together arguably the best resume in his school’s history.

During his two seasons as Ohio State’s starter, Stroud often looked like the best quarterback in the nation. While leading Ohio State to two straight trips to the College Football Playoff, Stroud stuffed the stat sheet. Over 25 games, he threw for 8,123 passing yards, 85 touchdowns, and just 12 interceptions.

After being in a loaded offense in 2021, Stroud lost many of his go-to options to the NFL draft. Injuries also impacted the Ohio State offense. But even so, Stroud once again looked elite. During the 2022 season, Stroud threw for 3,688 passing yards, 41 touchdowns, and six interceptions.

If the Colts choose to stick with the fourth overall pick, Stroud could be the most likely available option. But the Ohio State product has more than enough potential to be a game changer at the next level. If he is available, he should be right atop the Colts draft board.