The Colts Might Have Their Next Great Receiver

The Colts Might Have Their Next Great Receiver

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Josh Downs (1) celebrates with Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) as he runs into the end zone Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, during a game against the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Josh Downs is having a fantastic rookie year for the Indianapolis Colts. Eventually, he could develop into the franchise’s next great wide receiver. The Colts drafted Downs in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft following a brilliant career at North Carolina. He caught 202 passes for 2,482 yards and 22 touchdowns during his time with the Tar Heels.

This season, Downs has started six of his eight games, producing 40 receptions for 473 yards and two touchdowns. His best game came in Week 7, catching five passes for 125 yards and a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns.

Josh Downs Could Become Indianapolis Colts’ Next Great Receiver

Best Wide Receivers in Colts History: Raymond Berry and Marvin Harrison

Whether they’ve been located in Baltimore or Indianapolis, the Colts are known for employing legendary quarterbacks like Johnny Unitas and Peyton Manning. They’ve also had great running backs like Edgerrin James and Lenny Moore.

You can’t overlook their wide receivers either. Wideout Raymond Berry played for the Baltimore Colts from 1955 to 1967, winning two Super Bowls alongside Unitas. He racked up 631 receptions, 9,275 receiving yards, and 68 touchdowns, spending his entire career with the Colts.

Decades later, Indianapolis drafted Marvin Harrison in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft. The former Syracuse star would play 12 seasons with the Colts and helped Manning and company win Super Bowl XLI. Harrison is the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions (1,102) receiving yards (14,580) and touchdowns catches (128). Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he’s easily one of the greatest receivers of all time.

Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton

Reggie Wayne is currently the Colts’ wide receivers coach, meaning he’s coaching Josh Downs right now. Long before he was on the sidelines, he was a star wideout for the franchise. Wayne was drafted by Indianapolis in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft. The Louisiana native donned the blue and white until 2014 and was a member of the Super Bowl XLI-winning club.

While Harrison is Indy’s G.O.A.T wide receiver, Wayne is the team’s second-best of all time. The six-time Pro Bowler has been a finalist for the Hall of Fame four times, but he should make it soon.

In 2012, the Colts used the No. 1 overall pick on quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck wasn’t the only star the team drafted that year. They also took FIU wideout T.Y. Hilton in the third round (92nd overall pick). Hilton spent 10 seasons with the franchise. He recorded over 1,000 receiving yards five times, including a league-leading 1,448 during the 2016 campaign. The four-time Pro Bowler, who played with the Dallas Cowboys last season, is certainly considered a Colts legend.

Josh Downs Has What It Takes

Downs was a favorite target for Anthony Richardson before the rookie quarterback suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. He has emerged as a go-to guy for backup Gardner Minshew as well with Richardson unavailable. Like Hilton, Downs is looking like a third-round draft steal for the Colts thus far. He has had 12 receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown over the past two games.

Michael Pittman Jr. is regarded as the team’s top receiver right now, but Downs could become the man in the not-so-distant future. He’s extremely shifty and has the quickness needed to create separation from defenders. And as long as he stays healthy, he could be the Colts’ next big-time receiver.

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