Mike Davis has decent initial quickness and timed speed, but it is his body control and balance in his running stride that really stands out. He keeps his pad level low to generate solid lower body power in attempts to break tackles. He builds to top acceleration and runs with a normal stride. He has adequate change of direction agility and does a good job of twisting and adjusting his body on the move.
The Gamecock doesn’t have the breakaway speed to pull away from the pile, but his balance and strength let him run over and through the initial tackle when he keeps his pads down. When he tends to get erect and high in his stance, he can be pushed back through the rush lanes. He is more of a north-south runner than a shake-and-bake type, but is consistent in keeping his feet upon contact.
Davis is effective at varying his speed and setting up defenders with his moves rather than generating suddenness off the snap. He has a good short area burst, but not the sustained speed to threaten in the deep secondary. He can effectively gain valid yardage past the line of scrimmage, but it is more due to his balance and strength rather than explosion.
The junior shows a strong stiff-arm to defeat the initial tackle, but lacks the wiggle and shake to elude. He can build to top speed nicely, but it is not enough to be considered a valid breakaway threat. Still, he has above average balance, doing a nice job of squeezing through tight areas. He shows the vision to quickly recognize coverage and has a good feel for the defender and the power to run through his opponent.
Davis has a natural feel for cutback lanes and the instincts to know when to redirect and bounce outside. He won’t generate any special moves to create much space on his own, but has the leg drive to gain valid yardage on the move. He did not have fumbling issues until late in his junior year (see 2014 South Alabama game). He has the large hands and strong upper body frame to protect the ball, but most of his fumbles came when he failed to distribute the ball away from the defender when trying to bounce wide or when he got too erect punching the ball up the middle (ball was exposed). He just seemed to be a little careless running through traffic in 2014.
While Davis has been productive as a safety valve receiver, he has been used mostly on controlled routes, screens and dump-offs. He is not fast enough to be lined wide and not considered a threat to attack the secondary. He just won’t be involved in complex patterns, but does a good job of reading defenses to settle in underneath. He needs to run sharper routes to be considered more than a safety valve receiver and must generate better hip snap to get in and out of his breaks cleanly than he has displayed.
Mike Davis NFL Scouting Combine measurables5-9/217 (4.61 forty)
30 1/4-inch arm length
9 3/8-inch hands
34-inch vertical jump
116-inch broad jump
7.00 3 cone drill
4.18 20 yard shuttle
11.65 60 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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