UNC wide receiver Josh Downs 2023 NFL draft scouting report
Wide receiver Josh Downs has been one of the most productive players in college football over the past two seasons at North Carolina. He emerged late in the 2020 season, getting a chance in the Orange Bowl against Texas A&M and carried that into a record-breaking year in 2021.
Downs put together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2021 and 2022. He may not have the notoriety as other big receivers in this class but the production in an Air Raid offense working with Sam Howell and Drake Maye is there.
The receiver will be an intriguing player to follow in the draft process, especially for teams who are looking to add talent there potentially late Day 1 or early Day 2. We have seen several receivers find success after not being selected in the first round and Downs has the make to be the latest.
He could also be a fit for the Chicago Bears who are seeking to add more weapons to their offense for Justin Fields this offseason.
Let’s get into the scouting report for Downs and take a look at his strengths, weakness and his potential fit for the Bears ahead of the 2023 NFL draft.
Position: Wide receiver
Height/Weight: 5-foot-10, 175-pounds
Career Stats: 202 receptions, 2,483 receiving yards, 22 touchdowns; 27 punt returns, 282 punt return yards. (3 seasons)
A special athlete with refined technique, Josh Downs has the movement skills, flexibility, route running, run after catch ability, and versatility to be an elite offensive weapon in the league. His size and underwhelming play strength may limit him at the next level. He can start from the slot immediately.
– Quickness is a plus.
– Really good route runner. Has expanded route-running tree.
– Gets out of his breaks fast. Clean outs and can turn up field in a hurry.
– Very productive receiver in an Air Raid offense at North Carolina.
– Offers special teams value as well.
– Size could be a worry.
– Might be limited to just the slot on offense in NFL.
– Strength needs to get better at next level.
– Did struggle with drops at times at UNC
My Guy Josh Downs showing that change of direction ability to explode out of his break on this whip route. pic.twitter.com/Z9j6RUqzay
— Mace (@realmaceblack) January 3, 2023
How does Josh Downs fit Chicago Bears?
The Chicago Bears would be wise to add a weapon on offense for quarterback Justin Fields and while they likely won’t do that early in the first round, a Day 2 option could be Josh Downs. He does fit the mold for a quick passing game scheme and the need for a slot receiver in this offense.
Downs showed his ability to get open often at North Carolina and be a legit target for both Sam Howell and Drake Maye. Bringing good route running and the ability to get open to the next level would fit the Bears need at wide receiver and give Fields a go-to target.
There’s a lot of upside in Downs’ game and his skill set fits really well with Luke Getsy’s scheme.
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