Two Indianapolis Colts rookies, quarterback Anthony Richardson and wide receiver Josh Downs, are already putting in extra reps together after recently being drafted by the Horseshoe—with an eye towards hitting the 2023 regular season running.
And yes, that includes even recently playing pitch-and-catch in a hotel parking lot:
#Colts QB Anthony Richardson talked about practicing with rookie WR Josh Downs at the Hotel parking lot the night before rookie camp started.— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) May 6, 2023
Also added: "I've been all smiles. I've been grateful to be here, extremely thankful to be here."
"I'm happy."https://t.co/EafdSs8NNI pic.twitter.com/XKyG6VKUDN
What Downs, at a listed 5’9”, 171 pounds, may lack in ideal size, he makes up for with his ability to consistently separate, make contested catches, and play fearless. If he had been a bit bigger, he likely would not have been available at Pick #79 in the 3rd round by the Colts.
Not to mention, passion for the game, as Downs had one of the most impassioned draft phone calls you may ever hear—after having his name freshly called by the Colts. Pound-for-pound, Downs has a chance to be one of the biggest difference makers for Indy in 2023.
He should be an immediate safety valve for Richardson—especially in new Colts head coach Shane Steichen’s offense. He’s a different kind of receiver than the Colts have had in the past, and that may be for the best—given their lack of production from the slot recently.
Richardson and Downs have already begun developing initial chemistry with one another—which could be the start of some special things to come for Indianapolis:
Josh Downs’ footwork is a thing of BEAUTY— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) May 5, 2023
Downs reportedly caught 6 of Anthony Richardson’s 11 completions today at Colts rookie minicamp.
The Colts got a STUD in their rookie WR. pic.twitter.com/aN7UBIXWlU
If they keep this up, the pairing has the potential to be among the most productive rookie quarterback to wide receiver combination in the NFL this upcoming season.
The last such combination for the Colts, Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton, went on to become one of the NFL’s best duos over the past decade—and also, franchise all-time greats in the process.
While initial expectations should be tempered a bit for Richardson and Downs from such a lofty comparison, don’t rule out the chance for initial meaningful production—especially if they keep putting in the work together. If nothing else, their early chemistry is encouraging.