Now that the NFL Draft Combine has wrapped up, we now have the fullest view we can get of most of the draft’s prospects. This allows us to finalize rankings, or our so called “big boards,” and determine who us experts have ranked in order based on talent. There are plenty of talented prospects across all possible rounds of the draft, and there will surely be steals and busts labeled everywhere. Players will be knocked for random things, and we’ll hear plenty from “an anonymous scout” until the Draft rolls around in late April. One of the guys who may have some news and highlights around him is Western Michigan’s Corey Davis. A lower-level FBS star for a few years with the Broncos, Davis is going to be a premium pick at the wide receiver position with his skill set. The goal of Describe in Five is to try to get the best picture of a prospect in just five .gifs, with an explanation behind each one. While you can see who we’ve already discussed here, we are moving on to one of the top wide receivers in the class with Davis.
1. vs. Wisconsin (2017 Cotton Bowl)
After an undefeated season playing smaller schools, Western Michigan was able to get a Cotton Bowl bid against Wisconsin. While the Badgers were much tougher than the rest of the Broncos’ opponents, Davis was still able to make this impressive touchdown catch that could’ve been important to a WMU comeback. After his initial route fails and quarterback Zach Terrell needs to find another man, Davis makes a break towards the opposite end of the end zone and is able to reach over the man in coverage to make the catch. This is impressive tracking and catch in traffic skills puts into use. It also shows that Davis understands the hole in the coverage after the play breaks down. This is an important trait, especially when playing against better defenses in the NFL.
2. vs. Eastern Michigan (2016)
Here we see an area that is one of Davis’ strengths, and one that is a weakness of his. The strength is his run after the catch (RAC) ability. He is able to catch the ball while being hit, and also able to spin off the defender and try to work for more yards before being tackled by more than half the defense. His RAC ability was one of the best in college football last year, and with his size it’s a great thing to have. The area in which he has some struggles is his route running. The Broncos are running a sort of levels concept in which in routes are run at different levels to make the safety bite on one. Davis sort of rounds out his route instead of making a hard cut which can help shake the defender. The man in coverage is able to easily follow with him while playing off coverage, and joins in on the tackle. The cut in a route is one of the most important parts of it, and one aspect that Davis could use work on.
3. vs. Ball State
This is another area in which Davis struggles at times, but is not always shown: “focus drops.” This is a catch that if made would likely be a home run. While a bit underthrown, there is not enough coverage on Davis that warrants a drop, and he should be able to bring this in and possibly get the touchdown. Davis’ separation is great, especially on deep routes, but he needs to work on finishing the play and bringing balls like this one in.
4. vs. Ball State (2016)
A few plays later, Davis goes and does this. His ability to make contested catches is almost unmatched in this class, and he shows it off well here, reaching over a cornerback to snag a 55 yard touchdown pass. A receiver that has a catch radius and ability like Davis is able to mask mistakes made by quarterbacks at times, and he would be a great benefactor for any offense. Davis’ leaping ability is also shown here, and it adds a great aspect to his game when he can reach balls that smaller defenders can’t.
5. vs. Toledo (2016)
This is one of my personal favorites while watching Davis. His red zone ability is great, and he plays big here. Davis tosses the defender aside while he fakes a fade route, then breaks back to the ball and keeps both feet in bounds while he comes down with it. This play was run in a similar fashion by a certain All-Pro tight end for the Patriots in 2015. It’s what you look for in a big wide receiver in the red zone, and Davis is one of the best there. Bigger receivers need to be able to use their size to their advantage, and there’s two ways of doing that; you can either beat them in the air on a jump ball, or beat them on the ground with physicality. Davis chooses the latter, and it works well for him and the quarterback Terrell here.
Corey Davis seemed to have a few issues against top competition, but his all around skill set as a wide receiver gives me no pause in his ability to translate to the league. He will likely be a top 15 pick in this year’s draft, and he will likely have a strong career full of 1,000+ yard seasons. Davis needs to work on limiting focus drops and improve the refinement of his route running, but these are common problems that virtually every wide receiver is able to fix when they come to the NFL. His run after the catch ability, especially while being 6-3, is unmatched by the other big bodied receivers in this class, and will be a crucial part to his game at the next level. There is no doubt that Davis will be a great player in the NFL.