Buffalo Bills 2023 NFL Draft: Prospects and games to watch in Week 12
Player #3: Josh Downs, North Carolina
Georgia Tech @ North Carolina, 5:30 PM
The Buffalo Bills continue to get production from the slot receiver position with Isaiah Mckenzie and Khalil Shakir. While the development of Shakir is intriguing the Bills could be looking for a more dominant prospect in the slot to develop chemistry with Josh Allen. Josh Downs has quietly been one of the best receivers in the game this season. Downs may not have the flashy plays in big games such as names like Marvin Harrison Jr. or Jalin Hyatt but he is one of the best prospects in this draft.
Downs could be the best athlete in this class. He was a dominant track and field athlete in high school and will likely record some impressive numbers at the combine. Although the combine numbers never tell the full story with a player like Downs they confirm what we see on the field. Downs has elite speed, acceleration, and speed control. Downs does a really good job of using his quickness and burst to not only get open but create yards after the catch. With really good vision both after the catch and while his routes, progress Downs is a very reliable target in the middle of the field.
Downs is likely stuck to a slot role in the NFL because of his size. At 5-10, 175lbs he is going to be smaller than most NFL DBs and will struggle against strong DBs who can get a hold of him at the LOS in press coverage. Outside of that Downs really does not have many weaknesses.
Downs is really good it gets open and makes plays in the middle of the field. He has sure hands and does a really good job of securing the ball and making the first defender miss. This is the type of player that the Buffalo Bills could use ever since they lost the reliable Cole Beasley from the slot.
Downs may not be a big target but a player who can get open in the middle of the field and turn short gains into first downs is a skillset that the Buffalo Bills are not getting from any of their current receivers.