Notorious draft bust explains why Colts need plan for rookie QB
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports

Notorious draft bust explains why Colts need plan for rookie QB Anthony Richardson

A former NFL Draft bust believes the Colts must handle Anthony Richardson's development carefully because he knows the results could be disastrous if they don't have a solidified plan for the rookie QB.

"If you do decide to go with him, you have to have a plan in place," Ryan Leaf said Tuesday on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football." "You have to have a plan in place for him when he fails because he's going to; it's natural. The Chargers didn't have a plan for me. I certainly didn't have a coping mechanism or plan in place for when things went bad for me."

Leaf, the second overall pick in the 1998 draft behind Peyton Manning, failed to meet expectations. In three seasons with the Chargers and Cowboys, he went 4-17 as a starter, completed 48.4 percent of his passes and threw far more interceptions (36) than TDs (14).

Leaf's career highlights why organizations should give a QB some time to grow, especially if he needs to refine his skill set.

Richardson, the fourth overall pick in the 2023 draft, possesses exceptional upside. Per NFL.com, his athleticism score (99) was the best at his position in this year's class. Yet he's inexperienced. Richardson only started 13 games at Florida. In 2022, he went 6-6 as a starter, completed 53.8 percent of his passes and threw 17 TDs.

The 21-year-old isn't ready to be a Week 1 starter. Nonetheless, Colts owner Jim Irsay wants him to play immediately.

"So, for Anthony Richardson, it's going to be tough," Irsay said Monday on "The Pat McAfee Show," per Bobby Kownack of NFL.com. "But he has to play to get better. I mean, there's no question."

Richardson needs reps, but the Colts shouldn't rush his development. The Indianapolis coaching staff should wait to start him to ensure he has the confidence and composure a franchise QB needs.

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