Here is your Indianapolis Colts Season Preview with everything you need to know ahead of the 2023 season
Out with the old and in with the new. The Colts have done a complete makeover from top to bottom. New Head Coach, new OC, new QB. The only people retained are GM Chris Ballard & DC Gus Bradley. This season is all about development for Anthony Richardson and building a team to compete in the mod-2020s. Richardson is among 12 draft picks in a team littered with rookies. Only two are slated to start heading into camp, but four more are second string and could earn a starting spot. Shane Steichen has a tricky job on his hands to improve on a 4-12-1 record from last year, unless Richardson proves to be a transcendent talent.
All of this is overshadowed heading into camp by star running back Jonathan Taylor’s contract standoff with owner Jim Irsay and trade request. If Taylor misses time, it will limit the skill position talent around rookie Richardson, particularly with backup RB Zach Moss already injured.
2023 Indianapolis Colts Schedule
- Week 1: Jacksonville
- Week 2: @ Houston
- Week 3: @ Baltimore
- Week 4: Los Angeles Rams
- Week 5: Tennessee
- Week 6: @ Jacksonville
- Week 7: Cleveland
- Week 8: New Orleans
- Week 9: @ Carolina
- Week 10: @ New England
- Week 11: Bye
- Week 12: Tampa Bay
- Week 13: @ Tennessee
- Week 14: @ Cincinnati
- Week 15: Pittsburgh
- Week 16: @ Atlanta
- Week 17: @ Las Vegas
- Week 18: Houston
GM: Chris Ballard; HC: Shane Steichen; OC: Jim Bob Cooter; DC: Gus Bradley; ST: Brian Mason
Via Trade – None
Free Agents – Tony Brown, (CB), Gardner Minshew (QB), Isaiah McKenzie (WR), Samson Ebukam (Edge), Tyquan Lewis (Edge), Pharoah Brown (TE), Juwann Winfree (WR), Genard Avery (DE), Breshad Perriman (WR), Al-Quadin Muhammad (DE), Chris Lammons (CB), Isaac Taylor-Stuart (CB), Darrynton Evans (RB) & Taven Bryan (DL)
- Round 1, Pick 4 – Anthony Richardson (QB, Florida)
- Round 2, Pick 44 – JuJu Brents (CB, Kansas State)
- Round 3, Pick 79 – Josh Downs (WR, North Carolina)
- Round 4, Pick 106 – Blake Freeland (OT, BYU)
- Round 4, Pick 110 – Adetomiwa Adebawore (DT, Northwestern)
- Round 5, Pick 138 – Darius Rush (CB, South Carolina)
- Round 5, Pick 158 – Daniel Scott (S, California)
- Round 5, Pick 162 – Will Mallory (TE, Miami (FL))
- Round 5, Pick 176 – Evan Hull (RB, Northwestern)
- Round 7, Pick 211 – Titus Leo (LB, Wagner)
- Round 7, Pick 221 – Jaylon Jones (CB, Texas A&M)
- Round 7, Pick 236 – Jake Witt (OT, Northern Michigan)
Stephon Gilmore (CB), Bobby Okereke (LB), Parris Campbell (WR), Chase McLaughlin (K)
Projected Indianapolis Colts Starters
QB – Anthony Richardson
RB – Jonathan Taylor
WR – Michael Pittman Jr, Alec Pierce & Isaiah McKenzie
TE – Jelani Woods
OL – Bernhard Ralimann, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Will Fries & Braden Smith
DL – Kwity Paye, Grover Stewart, DeForest Buckner & Samson Ebukam
LB – Zaire Franklin, Shaquille Leonard & E.J. Speed
Secondary – Julius Brents, Julian Blackmon, Rodney Thomas II, Dallis Flowers & Kenny Moore II
The Indianapolis Colts lack talent (and/or) experience across the roster, with reliance on a large draft class to succeed. Among the weaker positions are linebacker, with Shaq Leonard and the returning E.J. Speed the pick of the punch. Receiver is also a question, with Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce lacking any depth to support. Until we see proof that Richardson can perform in the NFL, questions have to be asked at QB, with a high ceiling/low floor rookie backed up by Gardner Minshew & Sam Ehlinger.
2023 Star Player
There are slim pickings here. On offence, Michael Pittman is the man, with 2510 yards and 11 TDs in three seasons in the NFL. A talented, if not superstar receiver, he is limited by a lack of other options to take the focus away from him.
On defence, Deforest Buckner is the star man, leading the Colts in the trenches. Buckner had 74 tackles in 2022 but he is a playmaker too, with 22 QB Hits, two forced fumbles and 11 tackles for loss last year. Can Buckner continue to lead the line with a juvenile team aged 28?
2023 Breakout Player
For the Indianapolis Colts to have anything more than a rebuilding year, it has to be Anthony Richardson. Richardson was a phenom in college at Florida. He has 22 games under his belt starting 12 games last year. In 2022, Richardson had 2549 yardswith 17 TDs and 9 interceptions at a completion percentage of 53.8%. He added 654 rushing yards and nine TDs on the ground, showing he is a phenomenal playmaker but very much raw as an NFL player.
Indianapolis Colts Season Expectations
It looks like it will be a tough year for the Indianapolis Colts. Anything more than that is a success, particularly if they see significant development from Anthony Richardson. The hope is that the large draft class brings more talent and depth to the roster, with four picks from the top 110.
It will also be an acid test for Shane Steichen, as he looks to prove himself as a Head Coach. With the Jaguars developing quickly, the Titans in regression and the Texans approaching rebuild in a different way, the Colts are a fascinating case study lacking an obvious yardstick to measure their 2022 performance against.