Grading the Colts 2023 NFL Draft class after their rookie season

The 2023 NFL season is done for the Indianapolis Colts. How did Indy’s most recent draft class perform as rookies?

Los Angeles Rams v Indianapolis Colts
Los Angeles Rams v Indianapolis Colts / Michael Hickey/GettyImages
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Josh Downs: A

Another need and another major talent filled it in 2023 with Josh Downs coming out of UNC for the Indianapolis Colts and their receiving core. With Alec Pierce being a good piece but not a star, this team needed depth at the receiver even if he did have a more consistent rookie year.

Downs filled that need for speed in this group, and put together a solid rookie campaign for Indianapolis. He finished with 771 total yards, off 69 receptions which were both good for top-45 in the league, which is pretty solid for a third-round rookie. He only had two touchdowns but it also took him some time to really get going for this team. The Colts are still waiting for consistency from him, but when he gets a ton of targets, he capitalizes on those opportunities.

The former Tar Heel had some big games against Cleveland, and Tennessee, with that Browns game being a huge one as he went for five catches, 125 yards, and a touchdown. That is plenty from what is shaping up to be your second-best wideout with Richardson leading the way next year. Michael Pittman Jr. had a strong year, but a big part of that was guys like Downs coming in and helping out this core that very much needed some extra hands.

Downs can be a solid speedy wideout with improving route running going forward, and this was exactly the type of player the Colts needed. Now it just comes down to consistency, and this one-two punch of Pittman Jr. and Downs complements each other very well moving forward.