Indianapolis Colts rookie Josh Downs has been sensational to begin his NFL career.



The rookie Josh Downs was one of the most productive college receivers in the 2023 NFL Draft. He performed well at the combine and has NFL pedigree with his family.


For some reason he still fell in the draft. A guy that was unanimously a top-five receiver in the class didn’t get drafted until pick No. 79. He felt slighted about it and took it very personal.


Downs used that as motivation and it is paying dividends for the Indianapolis Colts, who got one of the biggest steals of the draft. Colts WR coach Reggie Wayne said he felt like Downs was the best receiver in the draft, and former Carolina Panthers legend Steve Smith Sr. said the same thing. Downs’ game on Sunday was the breakout game he’s been on the brink of for the last few weeks and what a game it was.



Downs finished yesterday’s game with five catches on six targets for 125 yards and a touchdown. He was outstanding, making big play after big play in crucial situations.


It started with a 59-yard touchdown early in the game to respond to a touchdown the Cleveland Browns scored on the previous drive. In the second quarter, down 17-14 on a third-and-eight and needing a big play, Downs made a 34-yard grab to extend a drive leading to a Gardner Minshew touchdown.



This has not been his only big game of the season. He has became one of Minshew and Anthony Richardson’s favorite targets. So far this season he has five or more catches in four of his last five games and back to back games with a touchdown.


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Downs offers a unique skill set, one that differs from everyone else in the wide receiver room. His ability to separate early is a skill set Shane Steichen holds in high regard and is vital to what he wants to do on offense. Downs is a technician as a route runner and has the rare ability to win in man and almost aways find the soft spot in zone.


The thing that has impressed me the most has been his catch radius and ability to make contested catches. For a guy that’s listed as only 5-9 and 171 pounds, Downs makes catches with defenders draped over him. He tracks the ball well and rarely drops anything.



Downs is only on the cusp of what he could become in his career. As long as he stays healthy, he can have a great rookie season. Downs is currently on pace to finish just shy of 1,000 yards, but the way his usage is increasing, he will easily hit it at this trajectory.


Downs has everything it takes to be a star in this league, and if he continues at this pace, he’ll be there much quicker than anyone thought.

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