According to one of the NFL’s all-time receiving greats, Steve Smith Sr., Indianapolis Colts rookie wideout Josh Downs is going to be highly productive at the NFL level, already praising his footwork and ability to get routinely open:
Smith Sr. knows a thing or two about playing wide receiver at the pro ranks too, as he ranks 12th all-time in receptions (1,031), 8th in receiving yards (14,731), and 30th (tied) in touchdown receptions (81) respectively in 16 NFL seasons—as a longtime great.
He was a 3x NFL All-Pro, 5x Pro Bowler, and NFL Comeback Player of the Year—all while formerly with the Carolina Panthers (as he later played 3 years for the Baltimore Ravens at the end of his prolific career).
Downs was recently selected by the Colts with the 79th overall pick (3rd round) in this year’s NFL Draft.
At a listed 5’9,” 171 pounds, Downs doesn’t have ideal prototypical size—much like Smith Sr., who was 5’9,” 195 pounds, but the rookie intends to more than make up for it with his speed, ability to separate, and consistently make contested catches. Pound-for-pound, Downs plays a lot bigger than his smaller stature and like Smith, may very well ‘have that dawg in him.’
Time will tell.
In any case, Downs figures to immediately play a prominent role for the Colts offensively as a rookie, as he should man the slot and serve as top rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson’s safety valve over the middle of the field and occasional deep threat.