INDIANAPOLIS – Some support for Anthony Richardson came in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
With the 79th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Colts took North Carolina wideout Josh Downs in Round Three.
Here are 3 takeaways on Downs:
1. Extremely Productive Slot Receiver
In drafting Josh Downs, the Colts are getting a speedy slot receiver who had some major production at North Carolina. Downs caught 195 balls in the last two seasons, amassing 22 touchdowns in his 23-start career. This is a selection to complement the pass catchers the Colts already have in place. Downs, 21, lined up almost exclusively in the slot at UNC. He had a high drop number in 2021, but that decreased significantly in 2022. Considering he really only played full-time for 2 seasons at North Carolina, his production is quite impressive. Downs leaves UNC as one of the more productive receivers in school history.
2. Diversifying The Wide Receiver Room
For weeks now, I’ve stressed the need at wideout to find a ‘point guard’ to complement the ‘power forwards’ in Michael Pittman and Alec Pierce. That’s where Josh Downs fits. In a perfect world, Downs is to Anthony Richardson what T.Y. Hilton was to Andrew Luck. Downs makes up for a serious lack of size (5-8, 171) with excellent quickness. Downs also brings ample punt return history as the Colts search for that with Nyheim Hines no longer here. Downs’ father, Gary, was a 7-year running back in the NFL. At the Combine, Downs said he had several great conversations with Reggie Wayne, and has also been a fan of watching film of T.Y. Hilton.
3. Support Your QB
Support your young quarterback. For the third time in four years, the Colts have spent a top-3 round pick on a wide receiver. And I have no issue with it. The Colts need to keep on taking chances at wideout in improving their playmaking there. Remember, Parris Campbell is no longer in Indy and the only WR move made this offseason was the addition of (the inconsistent) Isaiah McKenzie. More so than McKenzie, this pick should be viewed as the potential slot receiver of the future.
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