When Josh Downs was coming out of North Carolina, many pundits had him rated as one of the best receivers in the 2023 NFL draft class. Many placed him in the early second round. Fortunately for the Colts, Downs took a tumble to them in the third round due to size concerns.
Downs is already proving his doubters wrong by establishing himself as one of the most explosive slot receivers in the league as a rookie. Downs had his true coming-out game last week against an elite Cleveland Browns defense. Downs was able to haul in five catches for 125 yards and a touchdown against a vaunted pass defense. Downs showed off his explosive run-after-catch ability and shifty route running. It appears size has been to the benefit to Downs at the next level as teams continuously have a hard time putting their hands on the slippery route runner and bringing him to the ground.
Since Gardner Minshew has taken over and more emphasis has been put on the short passing attack, Downs has established himself as the top receiver in Indianapolis in just his rookie season. Minshew will very likely continue to look Downs’ way and if he can stay healthy he should dominate targets and yardage for Indianapolis.