Clemson running back James Davis may not be one of the elite prospects at his position in the 2009 NFL Draft, but he is one of the best players to ever wear a Tigers uniform and has a future suiting up on Sunday.
On Monday we learned from Davis himself that the Bears are one of three teams that have shown the most interest in him, along with the Broncos and Packers. Even though general manager Jerry Angelo appears to have solved Chicago's need for a backup tailback to Matt Forte by re-signing Kevin Jones, remember that Jones was almost no factor this past season and had a hard time getting on the field – knee injury or no knee injury. Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe are nothing more than special-teams contributors at this point, so it's far from unreasonable to think Angelo could be on the lookout for another ball carrier on Day 2 of the draft.
If the Midway Monsters are indeed interested in Davis and possibly considering him in Round 3 or 4, is he a good fit on this team?
To help answer that question, Bear Report enlisted the help of Roy Philpott, who is the Publisher of CUTigers.com on the Scout.com network.
Strengths: Power. Vision. He's great between the tackles, especially in a zone-blocking scheme. He can be one of the work-horse running backs that gets better as the game goes on, putting a team on his back to grind out tough yards in the fourth quarter. He's also a natural leader and has a strong desire to improve from year to year.
Weaknesses: He's not a guy that will wow with you speed like some of the faster backs in the NFL, but he's fast enough. He'll play through pain, although he did have some shoulder problems that surgery eventually fixed after his junior season. He's not a great receiver out of the backfield either. That's probably the one thing he needs to work on more than anything else.
Philpott Says: Davis would likely be a much higher pick had there not been complete turmoil during his senior year at Clemson. A mid-year coaching change combined with inconsistent play along the offensive line and at quarterback killed his production and hurt his chances at busting on the scene as a national, elite-level player. Plus, he split time with a future first-round draft pick C.J. Spiller, which also limited his production.
JC's Take: Even though he's got solid size and put up terrific numbers in college, Davis comes off as the kind of player that simply can't be measured in 40-yard dash times, bench-press reps, and Wonderlic tests.
Philpott wasn't done in his praise of Davis, taking off his objective journalist hat just for a moment and giving us a true fan's perspective on his future in the NFL. "I've covered Clemson for almost 10 years now and been a fan for another 15 before that," he said. "He's my all-time favorite player. He's savvy with the media and a true-team first guy." That's awfully high praise coming from someone who has been close to the Tigers program for a quarter of a century.
It's certainly possible Jones is now all the way back from the torn knee he suffered in December of 2007 and will more closely resemble the player he once was, but bringing in Davis at the expense of either Peterson or Wolfe might not be a bad idea based on Philpott's scouting report.
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Insider Analysis: RB James Davis
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