The Indianapolis Colts have drafted UNC WR Josh Downs with the No. 79 overall pick in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Truly a stud at this year’s NFL Combine, Downs put together a 4.4 40-yard dash, a 1.49 10-yard split, and earned a total score of 85, ranking him as the No. 2-best WR participant. He’s bringing a spry route-running presence with him to the NFL, which will definitely become a headache for opposing cornerbacks trying to stay with him on short passing plays.
At 5-foot-9, 171 pounds, Downs will fill in nicely as a prototypical slot receiver. He possesses a ton of confidence in his ability — coming off back-to-back 1000-yard seasons at North Carolina — but his smaller stature could impact him against certain defensive packages. Nevertheless, he’s a talented playmaker who also has proven experience as a punt returner.
Downs turned in a very impressive career at North Carolina. He posted 202 receptions, 2,483 yards and 22 touchdowns over his three-year stretch. He earned second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team all-conference honors as a receiver in 2022, while also being selected to the second-team All-ACC pick as an all-purpose player with (10-133-13.3 punt returns).
How can Downs impact the Colts in 2023?
The Colts' incumbent wide receivers include Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce and Isaiah McKenzie. It really depends on how Downs adjusts to the NFL for where he will fit into this picture. He does have special teams ability which will likely get him on the field early. If he plays to his potential and can get on the same page with new quarterback Anthony Richardson, he could take over the slot with Pittman and Pierce on the outside.