Colts draft strategy: Help Richardson, get unique talent

INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts approach this NFL Draft, as for now, looking back with confidence that they got the start of last years draft right in hitching the franchise to quarterback Anthony Richardson.

“It is a good feeling knowing that we like him,” says General Manager Chris Ballard. “We like what we saw (and) where we’re going with him.”

To give Richardson the best chance to maximize where the franchise is going, Ballard thinks back to the time when Andrew Luck was under center in Indianapolis.

“Andrew used to tell me all the time,” he remembers, “‘Chris, get me protected. I will get the ball to them. Give me guys that will catch it and get to the right spot, and I will make the rest work.’”

The Colts protected the quarterback fairly well last year, middle of the pack in the NFL with 41 sacks allowed, and a far cry better than they did in a putrid 2022, giving up 60. The good news for them early in this draft is if they choose to bolster the offensive line or playmakers on the perimeter, Ballard thinks they’ll be able to do so.

“I do think you’re going to see a lot of offensive players taken early in the first round,” he analyzes. “I’m not saying it’s a weak defensive draft but, but it’s a really strong offensive draft, especially at the top of it.”

All this is certainly no promise to pick an offensive player in Round 1 of the Draft, just a recognition that the Colts have work to do there in order to help Anthony Richardson succeed.

Whether evaluating offensive or defensive players, Ballard is scouting for two things.

“You’re always looking for unique talent, unique traits in a player,” he explains, “(but also) making sure that we are drafting not only the unique traits but also some substance with it with the tape.”

Trading up or down is always an option, and more likely down from Ballard’s history. Also remember that the Colts return all 22 starts from last year’s team, so perhaps with no obvious spot to fill there, they don’t feel locked into a position, as they were with quarterback one year ago.

Time will tell.

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