Home » Why the Colts are favored to draft Anthony Richardson despite praising C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young

Why the Colts are favored to draft Anthony Richardson despite praising C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young

The shine appears to have worn off a little bit for Anthony Richardson in the weeks following his stellar performance at the NFL Combine.

He’s no longer pressing his way into the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick with Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, and his current odds (+450) reflect that reality. Part of that is due to the Carolina Panthers trading up for the top spot. Part of that is teams probably remembering Richardson put together a ‘meh’ season at Florida last year.

But oddsmakers don’t believe he’ll be sitting around too long on draft day. In fact, they seem convinced he’ll land in Indianapolis — the same place where he became the talk of the combine — with the Colts holding onto the No. 4 pick in 2023.

At FanDuel Sportsbook, Indy’s odds to draft Richardson are +200. That’s despite QB-needy teams like the Panthers and Houston Texans sitting ahead of the Colts.

DraftKings Sportsbook gives Indianapolis +175 to take Richardson.


Meanwhile, there has been plenty of talk coming from Indiana about how much they like both Stroud and Young, not to mention rumors of the team potentially trying to trade up to ensure it gets to pick between the top available quarterbacks.

For The Win’s Christian D’Andrea laid out exactly what that could look like in his latest mock draft.

As Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports noted, Colts chairman Jim Irsay hasn’t been shy about opening up his mouth on the team’s search for its next franchise QB:

“Knowing that we’re going to have to find a young quarterback to develop is a key factor,” Irsay said of a main reason why the Colts [hired Shane] Steichen.

The former Eagles offensive coordinator has worked with Jalen Hurts, and Justin Herbert before that, when he was the Chargers OC in 2020. Steichen has a proven track record of developing young quarterbacks, and that helped him stand out in the search process for Indy.

But Irsay didn’t stop there! Without saying Bryce Young’s name, he offered up just how much he likes the Alabama quarterback.

“The Alabama guy doesn’t look bad, I’ll tell ya,” Irsay said.

Is this just another smokescreen in a season full of them? Is Stroud a lock at No. 1 overall? Do oddsmakers know something about Indy’s plans that the betting public doesn’t?

The latter option doesn’t seem likely. Especially after books had Aidan Hutchinson going No. 1 overall last year pretty much up until the moment Travon Walker heard his name called first. In fact, oddsmakers seem to be having a difficult time nailing the lines on draft odds lately.

Weirdly enough, this may just be a case of handicappers looking at Indy’s past quarterback history, trying to find the top option who fits the mold and hedging their bets in case the Colts trade up.

Which, naturally, points right back to Richardson.

More from Jones:

The Colts have had one of the biggest teams in all of football, and they’ve always had big quarterbacks in what is likely a leftover mentality instilled there by Bill Polian. From Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck and then just about every quarterback the Colts have wandered the wilderness with since Luck retired, the Colts like tall and/or big quarterbacks. Young is not that.

At 6-foot-4 Richardson, however, very much is that.

Dating back to Peyton Manning’s tenure, the Colts have only started three quarterbacks shorter than Richardson and mostly out of absolute necessity:

  • Peyton Manning, 6-foot-5
  • Curtis Painter, 6-foot-4
  • Dan Orlovsky, 6-foot-5
  • Kerry Collins, 6-foot-5
  • Andrew Luck, 6-foot-4
  • Matt Hasselbeck, 6-foot-4
  • Josh Freeman, 6-foot-6
  • Scott Tolzien, 6-foot-2
  • Jacoby Brissett, 6-foot-4
  • Brian Hoyer, 6-foot-2
  • Phillip Rivers, 6-foot-5
  • Carson Wentz, 6-foot-5
  • Matt Ryan, 6-foot-4
  • Sam Ehlinger, 6-foot-1
  • Nick Foles, 6-foot-6

Ballard, who has been the Colts’ general manager since 2017, has been responsible for bringing in a majority of the names on that list. Which is to say he certainly has a type.

Bryce Young stands 5-foot-10. C.J. Stroud is 6-foot-3.

Yet, as Mel Kiper Jr. pointed out, Richardson isn’t the only QB with a big frame and an arm to match. The ESPN draft analyst believes Kentucky’s Will Levis is a name to watch.

He’s 6-foot-4 and has a bit longer odds to end up on the Colts at +300.

Smokescreens are everywhere this time of year. Oddsmakers are doing their best not to get caught up in them. Looking back at the Colts’ QB history may give them the best opportunity to guess correctly about Indy’s plans, but that doesn’t mean bettors should pay too much attention just yet.

As recent drafts have proven, the books don’t always have the edge.

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