The 2023 NFL Draft is in the books, and the Indianapolis Colts finished with 12 selections this year. Take note that Colts GM Chris Ballard is sitting in one of the hottest chairs in the NFL. What type of NFL Draft grade did Ballard and the Colts have? How did they use their substantial draft capital? Here we’ll look at the grades for every single pick that the Colts made at the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Colts had a disappointing 2022 season. They finished with a 4-12-1 record, due to several factors. These included a poor quarterback rotation, injuries to RB Jonathan Taylor, and a porous offensive line. However, they have a chance to turn things around with the 12 draft picks they made this year. Their fans hope it will be enough to compete in the AFC South. Additionally, the team needed to address their need for a third starting wide receiver. Furthermore, trading Stephon Gilmore created a significant hole in the cornerback position that they needed to fill.
To protect their young QB, the Colts needed to upgrade their offensive line, specifically the left tackle position. Keep in mind that relying on Bernhard Raimann to protect a rookie’s blindside may not be a good plan of attack. Additionally, the team needed to improve their depth at the wide receiver position, as well as find a solution to their newly acquired need for a cornerback. Overall, the Colts have a lot of work to do in the offseason. However, with the right moves, they can turn things around and compete in their division.
Gardner Minshew might mentor the Colts’ newly-minted rookie QB. That said, his starting ability is not something that should make fans comfortable. Alec Pierce and Michael Pittman Jr. are solid players, but they also need a third starting receiver. In addition, the cornerback position that was once relatively stable now needs attention.
Let’s look at the 2023 NFL Draft grades for the Colts.
Indianapolis Colts 2023 NFL Draft Grades
Round 1, Pick 4- QB Anthony Richardson (Florida)
In Round 1, Pick 4, the Eagles swung big and selected QB Anthony Richardson from Florida. His skills align well with offensive coordinator Shane Steichen’s vertical passing attack and ability to cultivate a strong rushing game. Yes, Richardson needs to improve his lower-body mechanics to become a consistently accurate passer. Still, his natural accuracy is better than many believe. The Colts are also getting the most athletic QB in this class. Don’t even look at Richardson’s floor. Just look at his ceiling.
ANTHONY RICHARDSON GOES NO. 4 OVERALL TO THE COLTS 👏 #NFLDRAFT pic.twitter.com/OfTbnSqCnP
— ESPN (@espn) April 28, 2023
Round 2, Pick 44- CB Julius Brents (Kansas State)
In Round 2, Pick 44, the Colts chose CB Julius Brents from Kansas State. Despite some concerns about his injury history, Brents possesses an exceptional physical skill set with great upside potential. He is a perfect fit for the Colts’ Gus Bradley Cover 3 scheme.
Round 3, Pick 79- WR Josh Downs (North Carolina)
In Round 3, Pick 79, the Colts went with WR Josh Downs from North Carolina. Though the team typically values size at the position, Downs is an excellent fit for the slot. He also possesses the ability to be a three-level threat, with outstanding playmaking skills and separation abilities.
Round 4, Pick 106- OT Blake Freeland (BYU)
In Round 4, Pick 106, the Colts took OT Blake Freeland from BYU. He was a solid Day 3 pick that offers athletic upside for the offensive line.
Round 4, Pick 110- DT Adetomiwa Adebawore (Northwestern)
Adetomiwa Adebawore is a Day 3 home-run swing for the Colts. He’s an athletic and moldable talent on the defensive line with an unbelievable motor.
Round 5, Pick 138- CB Darius Rush (South Carolina)
The Colts continue their successful draft with the addition of Darius Rush in the fifth round. He is a fantastic athlete with a lot of potential to learn and develop at the CB position.
Round 5, Pick 158- S Daniel Scott (California)
The Colts add more athleticism to their defense with Daniel Scott. He has the potential to become a starting-level contributor if his athleticism can be developed further.
Round 5, Pick 162- TE Will Mallory (Miami)
Will Mallory is a modern move TE with the potential to develop into a receiving weapon. It’s no wonder the Colts took him at No. 162. As such, they stuck to their theme of drafting athletic upside throughout the draft.
Round 5, Pick 176- RB Evan Hull (Northwestern)
Evan Hull is a good-sized and explosive RB with pass-catching skills. With this pick, it’s clear that the Colts continued to focus on athleticism in their draft.
Round 6, Pick 211- LB Titus Leo (Wagner)
Titus Leo has the physical traits of an NFL linebacker. However, he needs to develop mentally to see time on defense. That said, he could compete on special teams with his athleticism.
Round 7, Pick 221- CB Jaylon Jones (Texas A&M)
The Colts added Jaylon Jones, a strong cornerback with short-area quickness. He may also play safety. He should end up a better player than this draft position may imply.
Round 7, Pick 236- OT Jake Witt (Northern Michigan)
Again, the Colts stuck to the script by drafting Jake Witt. Once more, they focused on getting a player with high levels of athleticism and potential. It’s a bit risky, but there’s nowhere to go but up for this team.
With 12 picks at their disposal, it would have been quite interesting if the Colts failed to address their team needs. Of course, their most important pick came at the start of the draft, where they selected Richardson. Colts fans are pinning their hopes on him for the future. He is expected to become the sixth different season-opening quarterback for the Colts in as many years.
As for their other selections, the first one that raised eyebrows was the selection of Mallory in the fifth round. While it’s not a bad time to pick up a depth tight end, it felt unnecessary given that the Colts already had four such players on their roster. Nonetheless, overall, the Colts had a really solid draft from top to bottom. They did pick up potential starters as well as necessary depth.
For the sake of Colts’ fans everywhere, let’s hope that Richardson develops into the best QB from this draft class. While Brents, Freeland, Adebawore, and Downs have a lot of potential, Richardson is THE guy. They hope he can become the solution to the Colts’ quarterback problem for years to come.