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Indianapolis Colts mock draft 2023: Creating a long-term core around a QB

Indianapolis Colts mock draft 2023
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts fell wildly short of expectations during the 2022 NFL season, landing closer to the bottom of the standings than playoff contention. It’s made the 2023 offseason pivotal for the franchise, with the 2023 NFL Draft having the biggest influence on the future.

Following years of quarterback purgatory, Indianapolis will make finding a long-term solution the top priority. It’s why general manager Chris Ballard is willing to do ‘whatever it takes‘ to land a franchise quarterback. Hiring Shane Steichen should help the offense improve in, but upgrading the most important position in sports is the only way for Ballard to preserve his job long-term.

Before diving into our Colts mock draft, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know.

Indianapolis Colts draft needs 2023

Here are the Indianapolis Colts draft needs in 2023.

  • QB
  • WR
  • OG
  • TE
  • LB
  • EDGE

Related: 2023 NFL Draft order

2023 Indianapolis Colts draft picks

Here is a list of the Indianapolis Colts draft picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.

  • Round 1: 4th overall
  • Round 2: 35th overall
  • Round 3: 79th overall
  • Round 4: 106th overall
  • Round 5: 138th overall
  • Round 5: 162nd overall
  • Round 7: 221st overall
  • Round 7: 236th overall

Indianapolis Colts mock draft 2023

First round, 4th overall: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida

NFL: Combine
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

By not trading up for the first pick, the Indianapolis Colts cost themselves a shot at Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud. It’s certainly a short-term loss that will have ramifications for the 2023 NFL season, but things could still work out in the future.

Related: Anthony Richardson scouting report

Anthony Richardson is the most physically-gifted player in the 2023 NFL Draft class. While the 2022 season proved he isn’t nearly as polished as everyone hoped, with erratic accuracy issues, there is a belief that an NFL coaching staff can tweak his mechanics. If the changes stick, then Richardson’s talent is unleashed.

Our plan in this Colts mock draft isn’t for the team to be relevant in 2023. Instead, the franchise uses it as a rebuilding year with Gardner Minshew starting and the new coaching staff evaluating the roster. In the meantime, Richardson works from the side and makes the necessary adjustments to his game.

Related: Indianapolis Colts could pursue Lamar Jackson

The upside is clear. If Richardson hits his ceiling, the Colts have an All-Pro quarterback who is capable of carrying an offense on a playoff run. With that level of upside in place, the focus becomes just building around that player.

Second Round, 35th overall: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Boston College
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of building around Richardson, that starts immediately. After weighing several offensive tackle prospects at 35th overall, we instead bring in a much-needed playmaker. Look at what Steichen did with the Philadelphia Eagles and you see a role for Zay Flowers with the Colts.

Viewed as a potential first-round pick and arguably a top-25 talent, Flowers is the definition of an offensive weapon. While some NFL teams won’t view his frame (5-foot-9) as something they want to bet on, there were few players more dangerous in college football last year with the football in their hands.

In 2023, Minshew will connect on the short passes to Flowers and Michael Pittman Jr. and let them do the rest of the work. When Richardson is ready to take over as the starter, this will become one of the most versatile and explosive offenses in the NFL.

Related: Highest-paid NFL players 2023

Third Round, 79th overall: Nick Herbig, LB, Wisconsin

NFL: Combine
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Former Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Nick Herbig might not seem like an appealing draft target for Indianapolis on he surface. Designated as an edge rusher, he classifies as an average athlete for the position with below-average production. However, Pro Football Focus highlights what Herbig’s best role might be at the next level.

Related: Indianapolis Colts sign Gardner Minshew

In limited reps as an off-ball linebacker, Herbig impressed at Wisconsin. He earned a 79.1 PFF coverage grade, allowing just a 79.2 passer rating on passes in his direction and really coming on late in the year. Paired with his already excellent pass-rushing skills, Herbig could be a nice piece to put alongside Shaquille Leonard.

Fourth Round, 106th overall: Andrew Vorhees, iOL, USC Trojans

NFL: Combine
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Rounding out the highlighted picks in our Colts mock draft 2023, Indianapolis makes another long-term decision. Andrew Vorhees projected to be an early Day 2 pick before the NFL Combine but he tore his ACL.

The injury means there’s a real likelihood he doesn’t play until late in the 2023 season and he might miss the entire year. When Vorhees returns, though, the Colts would have a multi-year starter at right guard who could help provide a clean interior pocket for Richardson.

Indianapolis Colts mock draft: Seven-round projection

  • 1st ROund, 4th overall:Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
  • 2nd Round, 35th overall: Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College
  • 3rd Round, 79th overall: Nick Herbig, LB, Wisconsin
  • 4th Round, 106th overall: Andrew Vorhees, iOL, USC Trojans
  • 5th Round, 138th overall: Yasir Abdullah, EDGE, Louisville
  • 5th Round, 162nd overall: Chandler Zavala, G, North Carolian State
  • 7th Round, 221st overall: DJ Dale, DL, Alabama
  • 7th ROund, 236th overall: Marshon Ford, TE, Louisville

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