Colts getting surprise breakout rookie performance in 2023

Indianapolis Colts getting strong performance from rookie WR Josh Downs.
Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

It's been a pretty good year for the Indianapolis Colts in terms of the performance of their 2023 rookie class. Quarterback Anthony Richardson, although he's injured right now, looks like he has legitimate franchise QB abilities. Not only did the Colts seemingly find a QB1 in this year's rookie crop, but they might have also found a potential WR1 on Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Rookie receiver Josh Downs looks like an absolute stud through the team's first seven games.

Nobody has more receptions through the first seven games in Colts history than Josh Downs, who has 33 catches on 47 targets heading into Week 8 of the season. Not even the great Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne had more receptions than that in their first seven games? Dallas Clark?

The Colts landed Josh Downs with the 79th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and he has vastly exceeded whatever expectations you might usually heap upon a player picked in that range. Of course, as a third-round pick, you might see players picked in that range as future potential starters, but Downs has been outstanding early on in his NFL career.

Only Zay Flowers of the Ravens and Puka Nacua have more receiving yards through their first seven games this season than Downs, who has also been averaging 75 yards a game the last couple of weeks. The Colts need to continue to find ways to get him the ball and keep him involved in their gameplan each week, because he's shown big-play ability no matter if they are trying to attack vertically or if they are asking him to make plays after the catch.

Gardner Minshew has been doing a great job in the absence of Anthony Richardson of giving the Colts a good look at some of their other skill talent. Even in defeat, they've been averaging nearly 300 passing yards per game over the last two weeks and they somehow managed 456 yards of offense and 38 points against the top-ranked Cleveland Browns defense in Week 7.


Heading into Week 8 of the 2023 season, Josh Downs is playing as well or better than any first-round receiver in the NFL. The Colts obviously got themselves a steal and a new weapon offensively to build their passing game around.

Next. Week 8 NFL picks and score predictions. Week 8 NFL picks and score predictions. dark