Scouting Report: Mike Davis, WR, Texas
We like Mike
Mike Davis is a player you could easily write-off if you assess him solely on his performance last season, but be careful. While Davis may not stand out in this year’s absurdly gifted class of receivers, he would have been a mid-round pick at worst had he left Texas after his junior year. What’s happened to Davis since then has been mostly due to outside factors beyond his control, the result is a year of corrupted data and a player fading into the woodwork.
Davis’ 2013 season was ruined when he lost his starting quarterback, David Ash. Ash’s replacement, Case McCoy was dreadful and the effect on Davis was clear as day. Davis was also facing tougher coverage without Marquise Goodwin around to draw defenders. Goodwin and Davis were a dynamic duo in 2012 with Ash under center. If you want to get a true gauge on what Davis is capable of, you should be watching 2012 game tape.
Davis’ problems continued at the Combine, where he suffered a minor injury to his right foot which has since healed. Davis was only able to participate in the bench press, where he was mediocre with only ten reps. Davis shows good speed on film, and we expected a sub 4.5 time as did he. "I think I'm going to run in the 4.4's." As I said, he never got to run, but he did at his Pro Day, and according to reports, he ran some where between 4.46-4.48.
Now that I’ve defended Davis and tried to put his rough 2013 into perspective, let’s look at Davis’ weak areas. The biggest issue I see on film is his hands. He simply misplays too many balls and he’s reverts to body-catching at times when you’d prefer him not to. This is often an indication of inconsistent confidence. When Davis is feeling his mojo, his hands look better, so there is hope that the right coach and system could help him play fast more consistently.
The other issue I see with Davis is that he is a pretty clear outside option who lacks the size, strength and technique to deal with high-quality press coverage. His 10 reps on the bench is a red flag. Though he was effective against press at Texas, he didn’t face much of it because of his speed and size advantage. That advantage largely evaporates at the next level. I see a typical growth curve here for Davis. His lack of bulk and strength could also allow corners to knock him off his routes early in his career. This is another potential speed bump that Davis should eventually learn to deal with.
Davis also needs to work on his routes, specifically his technique. He needs to get lower into his breaks. Again, he loses a good deal of his size advantage at the next level. He needs to improve his route ability to be more than a situational player.
I think he can do it too, because Davis has the vertical game to set up the mid-level routes at the next level. This is where Davis’ overall game will either come together or fall apart. He needs to develop some go-to moves and routes in the intermediate passing game.
So, what do we like about Davis?
- Speed - He has a nice size and speed combination and he gets behind the defense with regularity. He can also make plays after the catch.
- Burst - Davis has a second gear and he’ll use it at the top of the stem to lose a defender or after the catch
- Hands - While I see his hands as a weakness based on drops, it’s also important to note that Davis has very large hands and that he often uses them with his plus athleticism to make highlight reel catches. As I mentioned earlier, if a team can get him playing fast and confident, he might end up having good hands.
- Big play ability - It’s one of the things you have to notice when you watch the film. Davis gets on top of the defense and he draws PI calls. He can abuse weaker defenders in one-on-one situations.
- Production - When he had a quality passer to work with, Davis was a productive player. Even when he was stuck in a bad situation, he was the top threat on his team. The college level production is there.
Here’s a two game mashup from 2012 against both Baylor and Texas Tech. You can see why Davis is a NFL prospect here.
Here’s a game versus BYU last season. You can see Davis getting off to a nice start, but he loses Ash in the 4th quarter and his season along with him.
Here’s what things looked like with McCoy at the helm.
Davis’ film tells the whole story. He is a player with plenty of upside but also a player with some things to work on. His flaws are the kind that will be exposed early on in his career. I see a typical 1-3 year curve, but I think Davis should ultimately make it, and could have some fantasy potential. He should definitely get drafted and probably in the middle rounds. I’d say the fifth round is a good bet.
For fantasy purposes, we do not see Davis having much redraft value unless he really finds a perfect fit. Dynasty value is a different story. A good location could turn Davis into a player to own in long term leagues.
We’ll update Davis after the draft in our rookie rankings.
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Other 2014 Scouting Reports:
- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
- Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A & M
- Dustin Vaughan, QB, West Texas A & M
- Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
- Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
- Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
- Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
- L'Damian Washington, WR, Missouri
- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
- Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
- Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
- Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
- Dri Archer, RB, Kent State
- Terrance West, RB, Towson
- Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern
- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
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