Pro Day buzz: High on ACC runner

This productive running back, who says the Packers have shown considerable interest, turned in a 4.39 40 at his pro day on Tuesday. Who is he? We have the answers in this exclusive.

The Green Bay Packers have a 1,200-yard rusher in Ryan Grant, a former second-round pick in Brandon Jackson and a couple of intriguing youngsters in DeShawn Wynn and Kregg Lumpkin filling their backfield.

That doesn't mean they're satisfied.

The Packers have shown a strong interest in James Davis, the Clemson running back told's Clemson insider, Roy Philpott. The Packers were one of the teams who watched the Tigers' pro day on Tuesday, when Davis turned in an eye-popping 4.39-seconds 40-yard dash.

"Running the 40, it's always a big deal," Davis told Philpott on Monday in this Q&A. "I really don't know why, but if you do that, you got a chance to make some money."

Davis,'s ninth-ranked running back, was the "Thunder" in Clemson's "Thunder and Lightning" backfield with C.J. Spiller for the last three seasons. The 5-foot-11, 218-pound Davis rushed for 751 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, falling 86 yards short of setting the school's career rushing record. Before that, he was a first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection with 1,054 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2007 and 1,187 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2006. He started six of 12 games as a freshman and rushed for 879 yards and nine touchdowns.

Power and vision are Davis' greatest strengths, Philpott said.

"He's great in between the tackles, especially in a zone-blocking scheme," Philpott told Packer Report. "He can be one of the workhorse 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."

If Davis is going to be a factor for a team like the Packers, he'll need to improve as a receiver. The Packers already have a back (Grant) who is only a minimal threat as a receiver, and neither Jackson, Wynn nor Lumpkin have seized control of the third-down role. Davis had only 14 catches as a senior and 51 for his career. That was Davis' biggest concern entering Tuesday, but scouts were impressed by what they saw during position drills, Philpott said.

Davis figures to be a fourth-round pick. He elected to return to Clemson for his senior season, even though he earned a second-round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee after his junior season. He has no regrets about staying in school, even though his production suffered because of shared carries, a midseason coaching change and uneven play from the quarterback and offensive line.

"Davis is a solid running back with good quickness and cutback ability," said draft analyst Chris Steuber. "He possesses great vision and patience and is tough between the tackles. He has the speed to get on the edge, but isn't an open-field threat. He has good hands and can contribute in the passing game. He's been a durable and productive performer during his career."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Lambeau Level forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at

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