Indianapolis Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson was a bit of a wild card in terms of expectations from the outside as he entered his rookie campaign.
The upside was evident given his physical tools and processing ability relative to his starting experience, but it wasn’t clear how long the development process would take.
Once the season started, though, it was clear Richardson was far beyond what most expected in terms of his track of development, and even general manager Chris Ballard said the rookie exceeded expectations early in the season.
“He exceeded my expectations,” Ballard said on the Colts official podcast. “We saw the poise in college, but the accuracy, his instincts, his ability to create. I think all that was on full display.”
One of the biggest question marks surrounding Richardson entering the season was whether he’d be overwhelmed at the NFL level after starting just 13 games in college.
That was a fair question to ask at the time, but it was clear quickly that Richardson was ready mentally for the jump as big as it was. The 21-year-old never looked overwhelmed or panicked in the pocket, which was a pleasant surprise simply given his experience.
Ballard admitted that the rookie needs to be smarter with his body, which is the case for most young quarterbacks with Richardson’s archetype. Even at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, taking unnecessary hits must be avoided.
“There’s no doubt thinks he has to work on, protecting himself being one. He’ll learn that. I think all young quarterbacks have to learn that,” Ballard said. “Don’t take the unnecessary shots in this league that you don’t have to take. It’s okay to slide. It’s okay to step out of bounds. I think those are things he’s learned as he plays, but really encouraged about the small glimpse we got.”
Richardson is currently in the rehab process following a successful surgery to repair an AC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder. The Colts are hopeful he will be ready for the spring workouts, but that’s too far away to know for sure.
Regardless, the team is certainly excited about the future Richardson can bring even if he will be missed for the remainder of his rookie campaign.