Josh Downs
Josh Downs  WR  North Carolina | NFL Draft 2023 Souting Report - Portrait Image
Josh Downs
North Carolina
Home town
Suwanee, GA
Player Rating
PositionRank (WR)
FortyYD Time
Rec YDs
Rec TDs

Josh Downs WR North Carolina | NFL Draft Profile & Scouting Report

Josh Downs WR North Carolina
NFL Draft Profile & Scouting Report

ROLE: Slot Receiver
Last Updated: 04/03/2023
Draft Year: 2023
40 time: 4.48 seconds (59%*)
Age: 22.10 DOB: 08/12/2001
Height: 5-9 (7%*) Weight: 171 (2%*)
Hands: 9 1/4 (43%*) Arm: 30 3/8 (20%*) Span: 73 3/8 (16%*)
Forty: 4.48 (C) (59%*) Shuttle: 4.15 (P) (71%*) Ten Yard: 1.49 (C) (92%*)
Vertical: 38.5 (C) (84%*) Broad: 131 (C) (96%*)
Three Cone: 6.75 (P) (84%*)
0% 100%
(C) - NFL Combine (P) - Pro Day (O) - Other (HS) -Estimated from High School Combine
For an explanation of how the (HS) data is calculated see this article
ROLE: Slot Receiver
Last Updated: 04/03/2023
Draft Year: 2023
40 time: 4.48 seconds (59%*)
Age: 22.10 DOB: 08/12/2001
0% 100%
Height: 5-9 (7%*) Weight: 171 (2%*)
Hands: 9 1/4 (43%*) Arm: 30 3/8 (20%*)
Span: 73 3/8 (16%*)
Forty: 4.48 (C) (59%*) Shuttle: 4.15 (P) (71%*)
10 Yard: 1.49 (C) (92%*)
Vertical: 38.5 (C) (84%*) Broad: 131 (C) (96%*)
3 Cone: 6.75 (P) (84%*)
(C) - NFL Combine (P) - Pro Day (O) - Other
(HS) -Estimated from High School Combine
For an explanation of how the (HS) data is calculated see this article
Overall Rating: 86.7 / 100
Average rating of opposition Defense player has faced
Defense Rating:
Click the links below to view how player ranks vs other prospects.
QB Rating When targeted: 123.8
Short Receiving:
Intermediate Routes:
Deep Threat:
Overall Rank: #43 Position rank: #6
College Games: 34 College Snaps: 1673
Grade: 4 ESPN  Stars 4 ESPN  Stars ESPN RATING: 82/100
College Combine Results
Grade: 247 Sports 4  Stars 247 Sports 95 Stars 247 RATING: 95/100
Grade: 4 Stars 4 Stars RIVALS RATING: 6.0 (98%)
Indianapolis Colts Drafted: ROUND: 3 - Pick Number: 79 (IND)
Draft Profile: Bio
“I would say the one thing you have to be is fearless in the slot,” -Josh Downs

Josh Downs attended North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee Georgia where he was a three-sport athlete (Football, Basketball, and Track). He would run the 40-yard dash as a junior and would be clocked at 4.47 showing elite speed even from the high school level. In the same year, he would jump a 42-inch vertical. He would finish third in the state at the triple jump and fourth in the long jump.

In his Freshman year of high school, he started slow only catching four passes for 86 yards.

Downs sophomore year would prove to be much more productive as he moved into a full-on starting role. Boasting a 1k (1019) receiving season over 63 catches alongside 9 TDs.

Taking a step down in production in his junior season, he would only catch 37 passes for 624 yards ,however, his red zone usage would remain high catching 9 TDs.

In his pinnacle senior season, he would add another 1k (1290) receiving season over 83 catches. He was a force to be reckoned with in the RedZone scoring 14 TDs.

Graduating in the class of 2020, he was an early enrollee as a four-star prospect. Coming out of high school he was ranked the nation's 17th-best WR of his class and 53rd overall nationally per 24/7 Sports.

Downs received offers from Tennessee, Penn State, Arkansas, Ohio State, Kentucky, Michigan, Cincinnati, and South Carolina, among many others. He would ultimately decide to enroll in North Carolina.

Similar to his high school career, Downs took on a minor role in his freshman season for the Tar Heels catching 7 passes for 119 yards alongside 3 TDs and a respectable passer rating of 110.0 when targeted. However, he would foreshadow his impressive college career by catching a 75-yard-long pass against 5th-ranked Texas A&M.

In his Sophomore year, Downs formed elite chemistry with QB Sam Howell who was drafted with the # 144 overall pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2021. In 2021 Downs accounted for 43.6% of Howell’s passing yards by catching 101 passes for 1,335 yards, making it the third time in Downs career he would hit the 1k mark alongside a 106.1 passer rating when targeted. Further building on his elite connection, Downs would score 8 TDs.

In his final season with the Tarheels, Down proved that his performance was not purely the result of Sam Howell by catching 94 passes for 1,029 yards making it his fourth 1k season. He would also boast an immaculate 134.7 passer rating when targeted. Downs would see his red zone targets increase resulting in 11 TDs, the most he had scored in a single season as a Tarheel. He would catch more than 72% of his contested catches and his 754 yards after the catch ranks third in the country amongst all receivers.

Over his final two seasons as a Tarheel (2021 and 2022) Downs would also be utilized as a punt returner. Catching 27 punts over two seasons averaging a return of 10.4 yards per punt and a long return of 38 yards in both seasons.
Honors & awards
  • Herbie Award (2021)
  • 2x First-team All-ACC (2021,2022)
  • Led the ACC in receptions (2021, 2022)
  • Biletnikoff Award, semifinalist (2022)
  • Maxwell Award Watchlist (2022)
Scouting Report: Strengths
  • Elite straight-line speed, Incredible acceleration, reaches his top speed quickly
  • Vicious red zone target his entire football career
  • Strong vertical jump
  • Ultra productive with four 1k seasons under his belt across College (2) and High school (2)
  • His time as a special teamer has honed his vision and it shows when he gets opportunities in space making him an amazing YAC (yard after the catch) receiver
  • Advanced route tree allowing him to lineup all over the formation
  • Elevates bad QB play with impeccable adjustment due to his footwork
  • Manipulative footwork off the line of scrimmage when not caught up in press coverage
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
  • Size will likely limit him to a slot-only role in the NFL
  • Gets caught up fighting DBs at the line of scrimmage relying on the strength he doesn't have instead of the speed he does
  • Weak hands when used as a deep threat, drops proved to be an issue in 2022
  • Abysmal blocker - and even if he plays exclusively at the the slot teams still expect these players to help out
  • Deals with consistent mismatches
  • While he can make space, it will need to be manufactured at the pro level due to him not seeing much press man coverage
  • Little experience against press-man coverage and when he has faced it, it hasn’t been pretty
  • Easily knocked off routes by sticky corners
Player Comparison
Rondale Moore / Tyler Lockett
Scouting Report: Summary
Josh Downs has proved that despite his size he can be productive posting four 1k seasons over his career. Most of his drawbacks as a player come from his size and the others can be coached out, although he will largely profile as a slot receiver once coming onto the pro scene, he offers versatility as a special teamer as well. Downs ranks as my #2 slot receiver in this draft class only behind Jordan Addison of USC making him a projected late first-round selection. His elite acceleration will prove invaluable at the NFL combine, the possibility of a low 4.3 or high 4.2 40-yard dash is within the realm of possibility.

Downs' best chance for success is with a team that highly utilizes slot receivers and one that will not expect him to block. USC has tried to use him as a deep threat and while it has worked at the college level, it will not at the NFL level. It is important teams see Downs for what he is, an elite slot receiver and special teamer. Nothing more, nothing less.

Scouting report complied by Yard

Josh Downs percentiles vs other Wide Receivers (NFL Combine historically - higher value represents better perfomance)

Update - 04/03/2023
Downs didn't run as fast as expected at the combine - he was billed as a 4.3 forty guy but put up a pedestrian 4.48. Re-evaluation is on the cards.

Josh Downs Video Review

How other scouting services rate Josh Downs (Overall Rank)

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*Percentile Ranking in Player's Position Group (NFL Combine Historical Data): This percentile reflects how a player's specific statistics rank in comparison to historical performances at the NFL Combine, specifically within their position group. A higher percentile indicates a better performance. For instance, being in the 90th percentile for a particular stat means the player outperformed 90% of their peers in that category.

*Similarity Percentage: This percentage is calculated based on a comprehensive analysis of various factors, including height, weight, 40-yard dash times, on-field performance statistics, and overall player rating. The analysis is conducted against our database of draft prospects from 2021 to 2023. This similarity score helps in evaluating how closely a current prospect aligns with past prospects. It is important to note, however, that this score reflects similarities based on college production and attributes, and does not account for eventual success or performance in the NFL.