Steelers Told North Carolina WR Josh Downs He Had One Of The ‘Cleanest’ Workouts They’ve Seen

It’s just one day among a body of work but North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs evidently impressed the Pittsburgh Steelers in Chapel Hill. Downs held his Pro Day workout Monday and while speaking to reporters afterward, said he received high praise from scouts, including from the Steelers. In a presser shared by Inside Carolina’s YouTube Channel, Downs said he was overall pleased with his workout.

“Laid down very good times for the teams,” Downs said following his workout. “Basically just confirmed [what I’ve shown them]. Steelers and a few other teams came up to me and just told me I had one of the cleanest workouts they’ve seen the past few years.”

Downs isn’t considered to be in the mix as the first receiver off the board but he’s an under-the-radar name to go early on Day Two. Standing in at 5’9, 171 pounds, Downs had good testing with a 4.48 40, 38.5 inch vertical, and 10’1″ broad. But his tape speaks louder with elite-level quickness and change of direction ability. Though there’s no official time on his three-cone, those who attended said it was one of the best they’ve ever seen.

According to my rough hand-time, I have it as a 6.74 three-cone, an excellent figure that helps make up for his lack of size and bulk. Productivity isn’t a concern either with back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons and 19 touchdowns across 2021 and 2022. He also offers punt return ability.

After giving that answer, Downs was asked to follow up on conversations he had with teams and presumably, the one with the Steelers.

“He came up to me after and said, ‘Man, I watched your Combine and today. Impressive.’ He was like, ‘very impressive.'”

Downs didn’t specify which Steelers scout spoke with him. According to our Pro Day tracker, the team had at least two reps in attendance in Vice President of Player Personnel Dan Rooney Jr. and scout Dennis MacInnis. It’s far more likely Rooney made the comment than MacInnis, who is far younger and less experienced.

Downs told reporters he’s expecting to hear his name called anywhere from the 25th pick to the 45th pick, the late-first round to mid-second round range. Pittsburgh holds a selection in-between, 32nd overall, and his quickness and slot potential suits what the team is looking for. Downs has NFL bloodlines with his dad, Gary, spending six years in the league. Downs’ sister is married to Pro Bowl cornerback Dré Bly. Whether the team will take a receiver that high remains to be seen.

Check out our profile on Downs below. Our Jonathan Heitritter compared him to Tyler Lockett and gave him a solid second-round grade.

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