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Why Colts owner told rookie QB 'we're not drafting Olympic athletes'

By Clark Dalton,

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson.

Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson possesses phenomenal upside, yet he's still raw and might not be ready to start Week 1.

During an interview with James Boyd of The Athletic, Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay compared Richardson's athleticism to a "superhero" but explained he must refine his game to grow into a viable NFL starter.

"No quarterback has brought those skills to the table, the athletic testing," Irsay said. "Anthony and I have talked a long time about that, but we really talked more about being a great quarterback and what that really means in this league because we're not drafting Olympic athletes. We're drafting football players."

Per, Richardson was the most athletic QB in the 2023 class with an overall score of 99, the site's highest grade. His physical gifts haven't translated into consistent production, though. In three seasons at Florida, he only threw 24 TDs and completed 54.7 percent of his passes.

The accuracy of the fourth overall pick is an alarm bell. Per Boyd, the last first-round QB with a completion percentage as low as Richardson was Jake Locker (54 percent) in 2011. Locker went 9-14 as a starter in four seasons with the Titans.

Richardson might not bust like Locker since he's already improving. During OTAs, Colts head coach Shane Steichen said he's doing "some really next-level stuff," per the team's website.

However, Steichen isn't immediately anointing him as the starter as the rookie is splitting first-team reps with Gardner Minshew.

Bringing the 21-year-old along slowly is the right move. It will grant Richardson time to reach his potential, possibly giving the Colts the franchise savior they've sought since Andrew Luck retired in 2019.

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