The Indianapolis Colts have showcased one of the most interesting draft cycles of the year. They missed out on trading up for the first-overall pick but might still nab the player they were assumed to be taking there, had they acquired it. The Colts will draft No. 4 in the 2023 NFL Draft — behind the Panthers, Texans, and Cardinals (barring trades). Colts draft odds suggest they add a QB with this selection.
So who will it be? Kentucky QB Will Levis is now favored over the field at some sportsbooks to be the No. 4 pick. Click on any of the odds to bet now. Below, we’ll look at the possibility of each one and where the Colts may go come April 27.
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Colts Free Agency Recap
Losses: QB Matt Ryan, EDGE Yannick Ngakoue, CB Stephon Gilmore, OT Matt Pryor, WR Parris Campbell, LB Bobby Okereke
Additions: EDGE Samson Ebukam, DL Taven Bryant, WR Isaiah McKenzie, K Matt Gay, QB Gardner Minshew
After a disastrous 2022, Indianapolis was far from a hot free-agent destination this offseason. The team landed journeyman backup QB Gardner Minshew, yet it’s clear he’s not a longtime fix. In 2023, the Colts will start their ninth different QB in as many seasons.
They sent former MVP Matt Ryan packing after a tumultuous one-year stint while also losing a pair of defensive starters in Ngakoue and Gilmore. Meanwhile, Pryor left for the 49ers in free agency, and the team declined to re-sign often-injured Campbell. Instead, they brought in McKenzie, the ex-Buffalo Bills wideout.
Colts NFL Draft Needs
The Colts cannot move forward until they have a quarterback for the future. With the fourth overall pick, that’s where this team will go, hard stop. Later on, they can address depth issues at corner, receiver, and on defense, but quarterback is the most critical need with their initial selection.
Colts Draft Odds: Team To Pick Will Levis
The Kentucky QB first emerged as a first-overall pick candidate ahead of the 2022 college football season. Despite never eclipsing 3,000 passing yards nor throwing for 25 touchdowns, NFL Draft media had some scouts telling them they believed Levis was a pro star in the making.
He posted respectable completion numbers (66% in 2021, 65.4% in 2022) and yards per attempt (career-high 8.3 in 2022, 23rd). Levis declared for the draft and began to appear in mocks as the No. 1 pick, mainly to Indianapolis.
In fact, Levis became so tied to the Colts — from taking advice from Peyton Manning to being Mel Kiper’s official projection — that sportsbooks are convinced he’ll receive the nod at four. Caesars Sportsbook gives Levis a 55.6% implied probability of being the No. 4 pick (-125).
Indy hosted Levis for a top-30 visit. Last year, it drafted one player from their top-30 visit list (defensive lineman Eric Johnson). However, the Colts met with more receivers and tight ends than other positions. Coincidentally, they drafted two tight ends and used their first pick on a receiver. Granted, top-30 visits don’t guarantee those players will be picked. Nevertheless, it’s an indicator into where the team may be looking.
The bullish attitude on Levis to the Colts faded when the organization hired Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen as their head coach this offseason.
Colts Draft Odds: Team To Pick Anthony Richardson
For a time, Richardson temporarily jumped to the forefront as the Colts’ likely pick. In late February – before the Panthers traded up to No. 1 – mock drafts began flooding in with the Colts trading up to the first pick and drafting the Florida product. As a result, Richardson’s odds to be picked first overall plummeted from 50-1 down below 8-1. In response, sportsbooks yanked their NFL draft odds.
Carolina traded up to No. 1 and the Richardson frenzy cooled after league sources reported that Ohio State QB CJ Stroud is the Panthers’ guy. With Alabama QB Bryce Young likely headed to Houston at pick No. 2, Richardson would be available for the Colts, be it at No. 4 or No. 3 (like Kiper suggests).
The Colts hosted Richardson for a top-30 visit as well. He fits better into Steichen’s system, which just saw Jalen Hurts content for a NFL MVP in Philadelphia. He stands 6-foot-4, 231 pounds and clocked a blazing 4.43 40-yard dash at the combine. Richardson’s stature compares to players like Cam Newton and Daunte Culpepper, yet Richardson posted a better 40-yard time than either of those players.
His struggles as a passer are well documented. But his fit into what Steichen wants to do offensively cannot be ignored.
Sportsbooks are far more bullish on Richardson being the Colts’ pick at No. 4. DraftKings Sportsbook it a slightly better chance with a 38.5% implied probability (+160). This time, FanDuel Sportsbook agrees, giving them a 36.4% implied probability (+175).
Could It Be Any Other Player?
With so much unknown about what the Texans will do at No. 2 and whether the Cardinals actually have a trade partner for No. 3, it appears the Colts have done their due diligence on all QB options, including a Jalen Hurts-like Plan B in the second round if Indy gets sniped in the first round.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported the Colts have conducted a private workout with BYU quarterback Jaren Hall. Indy worked out top passers C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young in California but also traveled to Utah to see Hall live. That would be an eerily similar plan to what new Colts head coach Shane Steichen witnessed by the Eagles front office with Hurts when he was offensive coordinator.
Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort said at the Combine that the team is open to trading that third pick. Likely, it would be to a team wanting to get ahead of the Colts to take Richardson — or even to the Colts themselves. Should another team jump Indy, the final of the top-four signal callers will still remain. However, Albert Breer reported Richardson is most likely to fall in the first round and only mentioned Levis when he was talking about the Colts.
If the Colts quarterback plans fall apart in the first round, huge odds exist for the No. 4 pick to be one of the elite CBs in the draft, a position of need for the Colts after losing Stephon Gilmore.
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