AFC Notes: C.J. Stroud, Colts, Texans, Titans


Colts GM Chris Ballard said he didn’t want to miss out on QB Anthony Richardson at No. 4 overall. 

“I didn’t want to look up and watch him be a superstar somewhere else,” Ballard said, via the team’s official Youtube. “If he’s gonna be a superstar, he’s gonna be a superstar for the Colts.”

  • Colts HC Shane Steichen on Richardson: “He’s got a good presence about him, he’s got a bounce in his step. … As guys are around him, they’re going to feed off of it.” (Joel Erickson)
  • Jeremy Fowler explains that the Colts had a lot of ties to Richardson to draw from during the draft process.
  • Colts executive Morocco Brown did a ton of recon work on Richardson during workouts including traveling to Florida almost weekly to check on Richardson’s progress.
  • Beyond that, Brian Johnson, who worked with Steichen in Philadelphia and replaced him as play-caller this offseason, actually recruited Richardson out of high school.


The Texans and their new HC DeMeco Ryans are expecting QB C.J. Stroud to come in and earn the starting job this season, with Stroud saying that he plans to do exactly that and begin to turn things around for the franchise.

“I think all the guys that have been here are improving and getting better,” Ryans said, via Aaron Wilson of “C.J., we expect him to come in and do the same thing: continue to improve and get better. And we’ll see where things go come August.”

“Will hit it on the nail,” Stroud said, following up on comments from Will Anderson. “What we want to do, we want to start from the ground up. Everything that we’re going to get, it’s going to be earned. We’re going to put our heads down and work, and make sure that we grind and we show dues and we’re willing to listen before we talk. We want to definitely be of course a big part of this rebuild, which I wouldn’t even say that because you look at this team, you see a lot of guys who fight their tails off every game, and I watched all last season. I’m definitely excited to get started with these boys.”


Titans TE Chigoziem Okonkwo feels like his rookie season could’ve gone “way better” and felt most comfortable toward the end of last season. 

“I definitely think it could have been better,” Okonkwo said, via Jim Wyatt of the team’s official site. “I think it could have been way better if I just had the sense of myself that I had later on in the year. If I was able to play like that at the beginning of the year, I would have done a lot more. But that obviously comes with time, and reps, and getting it in.”

Okonkwo wants to continue growing as a player in 2023 and make sure his teammates trust him when in possession. 

“I feel like I showed last year what I can do,” Okonkwo said. “And I feel like this year, it is coming out the same and making plays again, making sure everybody in the offense can trust me with the ball. Just getting smarter, upping my football intelligence and understanding the big picture of plays, things like that. I feel like I have all the ability in the world, but for me it is just having the confidence to go out and do it.”

Okonkwo said he’s focused on getting open in “shorter spaces.” 

“Not just relying on my speed all the time on routes, but being able to set guys up and break guys off, and being able to get open in shorter spaces,” Okonkwo said. “And I definitely see myself leading the tight end room. I see myself as being the guy to bring us all together for sure.”

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