Drafting a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft is always a big risk. Hit on the player, and your franchise is a Super Bowl contender for at least a decade. Miss on a franchise player and you might find yourself out of a job.
Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard felt that pressure in the lead-up to the 2023 NFL Draft. The Colts held the No. 4 overall pick, and many believed there were four elite quarterback prospects in the draft. Ballard knew at least one of them would be on the board when the team picked, and he was extremely happy Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson was the selection.
Ballard revealed why he was so high on Richardson in a team documentary about the 2023 NFL Draft. Ballard said the fear of missing out on Richardson's ceiling was a major factor.
"I didn't want to look up and watch him be a superstar somewhere else," Ballard said around the eight-minute mark. "If he's going to be a superstar, he's going to be a superstar for the Colts."
Richardson's ceiling is immense. Earlier in the video, team exec Morocco Brown described Richardson as an "alien," a "meta-human" and a "purple spotted unicorn." Brown also explained the team doesn't view Richardson as a finished product yet, saying, "You don't pick Anthony for what he is right now. You pick him for what he can become."
The Colts will need to hope Richardson can develop into the player the coaches envision. Indianapolis has been searching for an answer at quarterback ever since Andrew Luck surprisingly retired ahead of the 2019 NFL season.
Since then, seven players have started games under center for the Colts. That list includes Jacoby Brissett, Sam Ehlinger, Nick Foles, Brian Hoyer, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz.
Richardson could put an end to that rotating chair the moment he's named the team's starter. That could come sooner than expected. Though some believed Richardson would need time to develop, Colts owner Jim Irsay said shortly after the draft he expects Richardson will "start this season."
If he performs well, 31 other general managers will be kicking themselves for letting the Colts grab a superstar with the No. 4 overall pick.