A 2nd Round WR Looking to Pay Off
For the fourth year in a row, the Browns selected a wide receiver in round two, taking Virginia Tech's Andre Davis with the 47th overall pick Saturday.
Browns coach Butch Davis joked for a minute that the selection was part of what team president Carmen Policy called a Browns' second-round "tradition."
With second-round picks like Kevin Johnson (1999), Dennis Northcutt (2000) and Quincy Morgan (2001), a third round pick in JaJuan Dawson (2000), a seventh-round pick in Andre King (2001) and recent free-agent pickup Chris Sanders, the Browns now have a glut of receivers on the roster.
According to Butch Davis, even with so many receivers already in the fold, the opportunity to draft a player of Andre Davis' caliber was just too good to pass up.
"Inside our organization we really felt that he was one of the truly impact, dynamic receivers in this draft," said Davis. "Besides the big-play capability and the speed that he has, he also brings an added dimension of being a very accomplished kick returner, particulary a punt returner in college. His big-play capability and his 4.3 speed made the value too tempting and too overwhelming."
Andre Davis returned four punts for touchdowns during his career at Virginia Tech, including a long return of 87 yards as a junior. The Browns expect him a chance to compete for a job as their primary punt returner in his rookie season.
Davis has nice size at 6-foot-1, 194-pounds, and sprinters speed. He was the anchor of Virginia Tech's 4x100-meter relay team and he has been timed at 10.31 in the 100-meter dash and 20.78 in the 200.
Statistically, Davis had an up-and-down football career at Virginia Tech, where he teammed for three years with quarterback Michael Vick, who was selected No. 1 overall in last year's draft by Atlanta. After earning All-Big East Conference honors as a sophomore in 1999 when he caught 35 passes for 962 yards and nine touchdowns, Davis struggled to post just 24 catches for 318 yards and two touchdowns as a junior.
"I started off my junior year well, then in the West Virginia game, when I caught three touchdowns, I got a high ankle sprain before halftime," said Davis. "After that, I struggled with the injury for the rest of the season. In January of last year I had the ankle scoped and I was able to get rid of the scar tissue that built up while I played on the bad ankle."
Davis said he is now completely healthy and he's eager to prove the Browns did not make a mistake by drafting their fourth second-round receiver in as many years.
"I'm aware of that fact, but they would not have picked me if they did not think that I could make a difference," said Davis, who finished his college career with 103 catches, 1,986 yards and 18 touchdowns in 39 games. "I am very excited. I know that they have an open offense and they do throw the ball a lot, so I am looking forward to going in there and making some big plays. Right now, my number one priority is playing for the Cleveland Browns and helping them make it to the Super Bowl."
The Browns did not come into the draft planning on selecting a wide receiver in the second round. Director of football operations Dwight Clark hinted early in the afternoon that the Browns would address their need for help on the offensive line with the 47th pick.
As that pick neared, the Browns were hoping to have a chance to select Ohio State center LeCharles Bentley.
"Bentley is a guy we really liked," said Butch Davis. "We kind of had our fingers crossed hoping to have an opportunity for someone like him."
When the Saints took Bentley with the 44th pick, the Browns were forced to consider other options. In the end, they were happy to find Andre Davis still on the board when it came time to make a choice.
"We didn't think Davis would be available anywhere near our pick," said Davis. "We thought, conceivably he would go at the end of the first round."