The Indianapolis Colts came remarkably close to making it to the playoffs in 2023, falling just short in Week 18 against the Houston Texans with a final score of 23-19. The Colts were just one successful fourth-down conversion away from securing a victory and clinching the AFC South.
While the season didn’t end as they had hoped, 2023 was still a successful year for the Colts. Despite rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson being limited to only four games due to injury, he displayed the potential to become the team’s franchise quarterback. Despite his absence, the Colts managed to win nine games, indicating positive progress for the team.
The future looks promising for Indianapolis as they move forward. Richardson will return from his injury and build upon his brief NFL experience. Additionally, the Colts have significant resources at their disposal, with $72 million in cap space and the No. 15 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, providing ample opportunities for improvement.
The Colts’ 2023 draft class was outstanding, and they have the potential to replicate that success in the 2024 draft. One key area of focus for improvement in 2024 is their defense, particularly the secondary. Indianapolis ranked 16th in pass defense, allowing an average of 226 yards per game. In Week 18, they struggled against CJ Stroud, allowing him to complete 20 of 26 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns.
To address their secondary concerns, the Colts could target Kool-Aid McKinstry from Alabama. McKinstry is highly regarded as one of the best cornerbacks in the 2024 class, boasting an impressive 86.9 Pro Football Focus grade in the SEC. He could step in as a starter alongside JuJu Brents, the Colts’ second-round pick from the 2023 NFL Draft. Securing McKinstry would be a valuable addition to bolster their defense, although it’s not guaranteed he will be available at the 15th overall pick.
In the second round, the Colts might consider adding a speedy wide receiver like Xavier Worthy to complement their offensive arsenal. While Alec Pierce was supposed to be the deep threat for Indianapolis, his performance in that role has been less than ideal, with only 1,107 yards receiving in 33 games over two seasons.
Xavier Worthy, known for his speed and playmaking abilities, could be the solution to create big plays down the field for the Colts. He had an impressive college career at Texas, particularly in 2023, when he recorded 1,014 yards and five touchdowns on 75 receptions. Worthy’s speed could open up opportunities in the passing game and provide the Colts with another dynamic playmaker.
In summary, while the Colts narrowly missed the playoffs in 2023, they have a bright future ahead. With Anthony Richardson’s return, ample resources, and potential draft selections like Kool-Aid McKinstry and Xavier Worthy, the Colts are poised to continue their upward trajectory and address key areas for improvement in the 2024 season.
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