Could Baltimore Ravens draft Josh Downs in round one?

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The Baltimore Ravens need to add a wide receiver in the 2023 NFL draft. Is North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs a fit for the Ravens, and could he end up being their first-round pick?

Baltimore Ravens NFL draft profile: North Carolina WR, Josh Downs

Josh Downs did not play much as a freshman, but broke out during his sophomore season. He put up 1,335 yards in 2021, then had 1,029 yards last season. His yards per route run dropped from 2.8 to 2.17.

He finished his career at UNC with 992 routes run and 926 of them came out of the slot. Josh Downs was invited to the NFL Combine and participated.

He certainly is not the biggest wide receiver, but he is explosive and fast.

How Josh Downs translates to the NFL

Josh Downs is going to stick in the slot in the NFL. He is jittery in his movements, and it allows for him to shake free with impressive routes and movements that set up double moves. However, at times he can almost be too fidgety and take too long to get into his actual breaks.

Josh Downs does a job at winning with the ball in his hands, and he also had an excellent contested catch rate at North Carolina. There are questions about how effective both can translate to the NFL due to his size, but he plays technically sound in both aspects.

His average target depth was under nine yards during his career, so he is not really a deep threat. Most of his work comes from creating seperation in the short and intermediate areas of the field.

NFL comparison for Josh Downs

The best NFL comparison for Josh Downs would be Cole Beasley. Before you laugh at that, he did have a strong season and was an All-Pro in the slot. If Downs can provide that type of production over a longer period, he would be a highly valued option in the NFL. He is a chain mover, and a reliable target, but it is hard to see him winning outside of the slot in the NFL.

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Should Baltimore Ravens Draft Josh Downs?

Josh Downs goes between picks 29 and 46 on average. The Ravens pick at 22, so would that be a bit high? While Downs is arguably the most reliable receiver in the draft, his upside is pretty capped. The run on wide receivers would have gone pretty quickly for him to be the best swing for a first-round pick.