2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Josh Downs





  • Josh Downs, 5-9/171

  • Wide Receiver

  • North Carolina


  • Josh Downs Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

    Strengths:
  • Extrenelt fast
  • Dangerous point scorer
  • Threat to score and rip off long gains on any touch
  • Smooth route-runner
  • Has a burst out of his breaks
  • Consistently generates separation
  • Sudden
  • Challenges a defense vertically
  • Finds soft spots in zone
  • Superb on double moves
  • Speed to go vertical
  • Tough and competitive
  • Tracks the ball well
  • Excellent on 50-50 passes for a small receiver
  • Impressive catch radius for his size




  • Weaknesses:
  • Undersized
  • Scary thin; only 171 pounds
  • Short
  • Could have problems with long NFL corners
  • Could be limited to being a slot receiver
  • Could have a hard time getting off contact
  • Needs to get stronger


  • Summary: In 2020, the North Carolina offense was loaded with talent, including excellent running backs and deep-ball speed receivers. One of those wideouts was Dyami Brown, and after he left for the NFL, Downs took his place. In 2021, Downs was a dangerous weapon for Sam Howell, turning 101 receptions into 1,335 yards and eight touchdowns. With a new quarterback in 2022, Downs recorded 83 catches for 929 yards and 11 touchdowns.

    The first trait that stands out about Downs is elite speed. He is extremely fast and is a threat to beat defenses over the top on any play. Downs is a quality route-runner with quick feet and does not take extra steps rounding off cuts. Downs shows some explosion out of his break to dart past defenders to gain separation. The shifty athleticism translates to Downs being a nice yards-after-the-catch receiver. He is a dangerous runner who can outrace defenders.



    Downs tracks the ball well down the field and is reliable to catch the ball and has late hands to not tip off defenders of passes that are coming in over their heads. With his skill set, Downs profiles nicely as a slot receiver in the NFL.

    Downs may end up being limited to the slot because he is thinly framed and is extremely underweight. It would help him to add strength, but getting off jams and fighting off bigger cornerbacks could always be a big problem for him in the NFL.

    In the 2023 NFL Draft, Downs looks likely to go on Day 2. Some sources think he will be a second-round pick, while others project him to Round 3.



    Player Comparison: Tavon Austin Austin (5-8, 185) and Downs are very similar in size, with both being dangerous speed receivers. Austin is a more natural receiver, while Downs had more explosion. In the NFL, I think Downs could be similar player to Austin.






    RELATED LINKS:


    2023 NFL Mock Draft: Charlie’s | Walt’s


    2023 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings


    2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports








    2024 NFL Mock Draft - April 16


    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22


    Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19


    NFL Picks - Feb. 12