The Colts are looking to acquire a new starting quarterback for the sixth consecutive offseason after the Matt Ryan trade proved to be a failure.
Indianapolis seems poised to take a different approach at the position this offseason. Previously, the team had focused on adding veteran passers to the fold to help keep it competitive.
Now, the Colts are focused on scouring the 2023 NFL Draft for options at the position.
And it appears that Jim Irsay may have a favorite emerging among those options: Alabama’s Bryce Young.
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Irsay was asked about the possibility that the Colts would trade back from their first-round selection — No. 4 overall — in the 2023 NFL Draft at Shane Steichen’s introductory news conference Tuesday.
Irsay provided an answer and then offhandedly added the following about Young.
“The Alabama guy doesn’t look bad, I’ll tell ya,” Irsay said, per ProFootballTalk.
Could this be a smokescreen? It’s certainly possible. But Irsay has never been afraid to speak his mind or take an unconventional approach, as we saw with the Jeff Saturday interim coaching hire. So, this may be a transparent comment from him.
That said, it’s no surprise that the Colts like Young. The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner enjoyed a strong two-year run as the starter at Alabama and racked up 8,200 passing yards, 79 passing touchdowns and just 12 interceptions during those campaigns. The only concern with him is about whether his slight, 6-0, 194-pound frame will hold up at the NFL level.
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The other issue regarding Young is specific to the Colts. They might not be able to select him with the No. 4 overall pick. The Texans are expected to take a quarterback with the No. 2 pick and have frequently been connected to Young in mock drafts. That includes the latest from Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer.
The Colts may still have a chance to land Young. The Texans may prefer C.J. Stroud or even Will Levis to the Alabama product; if that’s the case, then Young could fall into their laps.
Additionally, the Colts may have an opportunity to leapfrog the Texans in the draft order via trade. The Bears have the No. 1 overall selection but aren’t in need of a quarterback thanks to the presence of Justin Fields. If Chicago wants to trade down and acquire a bounty of picks for the No. 1 selection, Indianapolis is positioned to make a compelling offer centered around the No. 4 pick.
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It’s too early to say whether the Colts will make a move for Young — or if he will even be the team’s top quarterback target.
But either way, Irsay knows that the Colts will have to develop a young quarterback to become competitive once again. He believes that regardless of the prospect with which the Colts end up, Steichen should be entrusted with that responsibility.
“Shane had a lot of that offensive magic, which is hard to find in this league,” Irsay said. “Offense, in my mind, can be a little more complex and takes a longer time to develop knowing that we’re going to have to find a young quarterback to develop. That’s a key factor, but he had to show the leadership, he had to show that he had a presence, and boy did he come through in that in his interview.”