Trevor Davis’ calling card is his speed.
Out of the 36 wide receivers who ran the 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, Davis’ time of 4.42 seconds ranked third. Out of the 40 wide receivers who did the vertical jump, Davis’ leap of 38.5 inches ranked fourth. Those athletic traits showed up in Davis averaging 17.2 yards per reception during his senior season at California.
But the Green Bay Packers’ fifth-round pick is more than just a speed receiver.
Of our top 47 receivers in our predraft rankings, 44 had complete statistical data available from STATS. Of those 44:
-- Davis ranked No. 1 in yards after the catch per catch with an average of 9.6 YAC per reception. For perspective, only six receivers averaged more than 7.0 YAC and South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper (fourth round, Rams) was a distant second with 8.0 YAC per catch.
“I would say my quickness and my speed and reading blocks and things like that because of my return game,” Davis said of why he was so productive after the catch. “I take pride in that, knowing the game and knowing defenses. I feel that helps me a lot when it comes to catching the ball and knowing where defenders are and reading blocks.”
-- Davis ranked No. 4 in catch percentage at 70.3 percent (38 receptions in 54 targets). Two of the players ranked ahead of Davis were among the top receivers in the draft – TCU’s Josh Doctson (first round, Redskins) and Oklahoma’s Sterling Shepard (second round, Giants).
“Feel really good about it,” Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf said at the draft of Davis’ ball skills. “His pro day was unbelievably good with the ball skills, his tracking ability down the field, effortless catching, very smooth.”
-- Davis ranked No. 5 in drop rate at 1.85 percent (one drop in 54 targets). Of the 43 receivers at the Combine, Davis’ 10-inch hands were tied for the eighth largest.
Of course, it helps that Davis was catching passes from Jared Goff, the top pick in this year’s draft. From that perspective, Davis has hit the lottery, going from Goff to two-time MVP and fellow Cal star Aaron Rodgers.
“Especially being a receiver from Cal, it’s probably the neatest thing you could possibly imagine,” Davis said at the rookie camp. “I go from Jared Goff to the best quarterback in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers. Any receiver would feel great to play with Aaron Rodgers, and it’s even that much better when I’ve heard about him so much playing at Cal.”
Davis was the one luxury pick in a needs-based draft. The Packers certainly didn’t need a wide receiver, not with Jordy Nelson and Ty Montgomery returning from injuries and Jeff Janis appearing poised to earn more of a role on the offense. But after the offense bogged down to such an extent last season without Nelson’s stretch-the-field ability, Davis provides some insurance. He made a tremendous play at the one rookie orientation practice that was open to the media. Davis beat the cornerback at the line of scrimmage and accelerated past him on a go route. The ball was a bit underthrown but Davis made the catch, despite getting horse-collared for an interference penalty.
Sounding like a man used to making plays down the field, Davis shrugged off that play after practice. Athleticism is an obvious asset but he wants to be known as a complete receiver rather than just a speed receiver.
“In my mind, yes, it is speed but also my (knowledge) of the game,” Davis said of the best part of his game. “I love the game of football so I study it a lot – reading defenses and things like that – and just my willingness to do whatever I have to do to help the team.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.