North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs was taken by the Indianapolis Colts with the No. 79 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. He heads to Indy as a weapon for first-round quarterback Anthony Richardson.
Wide receiver Josh Downs is expected to go somewhere in the second round, but that doesn’t mean he won’t thrive in the NFL regardless of where he lands. He has plenty of potential heading into his NFL career and brings a lot of qualities that could benefit a plethora of teams heading into next season.
Downs caught 94 passes for 1,029 yards last season with North Carolina, scoring a career-high 11 touchdowns for the Tar Heels. UNC went to the Holiday Bowl but ended up losing by a narrow 28-27 final score to No. 15 Oregon on December 28. Downs earned 23 starts through his three seasons at North Carolina, earning a first-team All-ACC spot in both 2021 and 2022.
Josh Downs: Scouting Report
Downs played a slot role during his time at UNC due to his small build at just 5’9” and 171 pounds. He doesn’t have much of a vertical leap which cuts down on some of his game in the air, but his foot speed helps him excel on slants and screens as he can stretch the field or stay on shallow routes and turn in some solid production.
He’s got plenty of strength combined with his speed capability as well as some very dependable and sticky hands. That combination could make him a threat in the 10-yard area that could see him as a starter sooner rather than later in the NFL.
Mock Draft landing spots
Downs is being projected to go towards the end of the second round. NFL.com’s Chad Reuter has him going No. 58 to the Dallas Cowboys while ESPN’s Mel Kiper has him going No. 59 to the Buffalo Bills.
Fantasy football implications
Downs could be a starter from day one wherever he is drafted. His route running is his biggest plus and he found himself open all the time in college. His size is the big negative for him and he isn’t going to beat defenders over the top all the time, but more underneath routes. In a PPR fantasy football league, his value should be much higher. Adding him to the Bills' wide receiver room would be a great look for him in his first year. Josh Allen gets everybody involved.