2023 NFL Offseason report: Indianapolis Colts

Free agency recap: The Colts weren’t big spenders this offseason, but they still have over $23 million in cap space and a projected $78 million for next year, so the franchise is positioned well going forward.

• Best move of the offseason: Considering how much elite quarterback play dominates the NFL game, particularly in the loaded AFC, taking a shot on Anthony Richardson is worth it.

• Outlook for 2023: Regardless of whether Richardson plays immediately, the Colts appear to be too thin on defense — particularly in the secondary — to be able to contend in the AFC South.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes


As the dust settles on the 2023 NFL offseason, it's time to assess how each team fared in their quest to improve their roster.

Recapping blockbuster trades and high-profile signings to shrewd draft selections, PFF offers an in-depth assessment of all 32 NFL teams, shedding light on the potential impact these moves may have on their fortunes in the upcoming campaign.

For more information on each team's draft selections and offseason moves, download the PFF draft guide today!

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS OFFSEASON GRADE: A+

2023 NFL Free Agency
FA signings FA losses
WR Pharaoh Brown LB Bobby Okereke (NYG)
DI Taven Bryan EDGE Yannick Ngakoue (FA)
EDGE Samson Ebukam WR Parris Campbell (NYG)
RB Darrynton Evans S Rodney McLeod (CLV)
P Matt Gay  
WR Isaiah McKenzie  
QB Gardner Minshew  
 Free agency recap

The Colts weren’t big spenders this offseason, but they still have over $23 million in cap space and a projected $78 million for next year, so the franchise is positioned well going forward.

The biggest splash this offseason was QB Gardner Minshew, who will bring a strong veteran presence to the QB room with 2023 fourth overall pick Anthony Richardson serving as Minshew’s understudy until he is ready to take over the reins.

2023 Draft class

 R1 (4): QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
R2 (44): CB Julius Brents, Kansas State
R3 (79): WR Josh Downs, North Carolina
R4 (106): T Blake Freeland, BYU
R4 (110): EDGE Adetomiwa Adebawore, Northwestern
R5 (138): CB Darius Rush,  South Carolina
R5 (158): S Daniel Scott, Cal
R5 (162): TE Will Mallory, Miami (FL)
R5 (176): RB Evan Hull, Northwestern
R6 (211): EDGE Titus Leo, Wagner
R6 (221): CB Jaylon Jones, Texas A&M
R7 (236): OT Jake Witt, Northern Michigan

 2023 NFL Draft recap

The Colts took a giant leap of faith by drafting Richardson with their first-round pick. The Florida product has significant accuracy and experience concerns, but he is built like Cam Newton and runs like Lamar Jackson.

Wide receiver Josh Downs was a great value pick in the third round and could be ready for action early, considering his route-running ability. Last year, 54 of his 94 catches for North Carolina resulted in either a first down or touchdown, and despite measuring just 5-foot-9 and 171 pounds at the combine, he caught an impressive 13 of his 18 contested targets.

 Second-round cornerback Julius Brents may be the Colts' most critical draft pick for this upcoming season, as the gambling suspension and subsequent waiving of Isaiah Rodgers will likely thrust the rookie into action early. At 6-foot-3, 198 pounds, he is huge for a cornerback and last year allowed a completion percentage of just 44.4% on throws into his coverage.

Best move of the offseason: Drafting Anthony Richardson

Considering how much elite quarterback play dominates the NFL game, particularly in the loaded AFC, taking a shot on Anthony Richardson is worth it.

The small sample size of just one starting season and his accuracy are legitimate concerns, but his last six games suggest he is much more than just a dangerous runner. In that stretch, he tossed 12 touchdowns to just two interceptions, racking up 10 big-time throws to just four turnover-worthy plays.

We’ve seen recent college QBs improve their accuracy in the NFL — namely Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson — and if Richardson can do so, he has the tools to be one of the league’s elite.

Remaining team needs: Safety depth

Safety is the weakest and shallowest position group on this roster.

Rodney Thomas II was a seventh-round pick last year and earned a 54.3 overall grade on 720 snaps. He is currently projected to start at free safety, with no real challengers behind him on the depth chart.

At strong safety, Julian Blackmon has three straight seasons of strong grades on run defense but has yet to top 60.0 in coverage. Former third-round pick Nick Cross is behind him and will be looking to make more of an impact after playing just 122 defensive snaps in 2022. Making matters worse, 2023 fifth-round pick Daniel Scott has torn an ACL this offseason and will miss his rookie campaign.

The Colts should strongly consider signing a veteran like John Johnson III in order to bolster the group.

Early position battle to watch: WR Josh Downs vs. WR Isaiah McKenzie

Isaiah McKenzie heads to Indianapolis via Buffalo, where he showed flashes as a speedy slot receiver but never had consistent production. In 2022, he caught just 44 balls for 433 yards and dropped five passes along the way.

He’ll be pushed immediately by 2023 third-round selection Josh Downs, who had an excellent career at North Carolina, catching 202 of his 270 targets for 2,483 yards, 22 touchdowns and 95 first downs. 

2023 Outlook

The main dilemma for the Colts in 2023 will be deciding how soon to hand the reins over to Richardson. Minshew could start and is certainly capable of carrying the load while the rookie gets acclimated, but Indianapolis could also opt to thrust Richardson into the NFL experience immediately.

Regardless of whether he plays immediately, the Colts appear to be too thin on defense — particularly in the secondary — to be able to contend in the AFC South.

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