The New England Patriots met with a high-end receiver prospect with the 2023 NFL Draft quickly approaching.
North Carolina product Josh Downs told reporters he’s met with 15-20 teams, including the Patriots, Tennessee Titans and New Orleans Saints on Sunday night in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels hosted their Pro Day on Monday.
Downs, who is thought to be a late first-rounder or early second-rounder, has been told by his agent he could be selected anywhere from picks 25 through 45. NFL Network lead draft writer Eric Edholm listed Downs No. 38 overall on his top 100 draft prospects earlier this month, while Pro Football Focus has Downs as No. 40 on its big board, which was last updated Monday.
Standing at 5-foot-9 and 171 pounds, the undersized Downs projects as a slot receiver with big-play ability. He ran a 4.48 40-yard dash with a 1.49 10-yard split at the NFL combine and has been praised for his footwork. NFL.com projects him to be a good starting slot receiver within the next two years.
NESN.com’s Zack Cox mocked Downs to New England at No. 46 overall in his first Patriots mock draft. The Patriots also hold the No. 14 overall pick.
Downs is not atop the receiver rankings with Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Quentin Johnston, Zay Flowers or Jordan Addison, but he is thought to be in the neighborhood of Jalin Hyatt as the fifth or sixth receiver off the board. For what it’s worth, DraftKings Sportsbook has Downs listed with the sixth-best odds to be the first receiver selected.