Rookie Spotlight: Robert Davis, Georgia State University
Height: 6’ 2 5/8”
Weight: 219 lbs
Hands: 9 5/8”
40 yard dash: 4.44 (combine)
NFL Comparison: Stephen Hill, Demaryius Thomas, Jeff Janis
– SPARQ freak
– changes direction on a dime
– wide catch radius
– good hands
-raw route runner
-not very physical for his size
-gives up on plays
Scouting Notes: Davis is a size/speed combo whose on-field potential would make any potential suitor salivate like Pavlov’s dog. He was the top SPARQ – an acronym for speed, power, agility, reaction, and quickness metrics – scorer at his position at the NFL Combine this year, arguably making Davis the “best” athlete at the event in regard to receivers. He was 1st for WRs in the long jump (11’4’’), 2nd in the vertical jump (41”), and 3rd in the bench press (19 reps). This doesn’t come entirely as a surprise when you learn that he is the cousin of beastly NFL veteran linebacker and former 1st round pick Thomas Davis of the Panthers. But great SPARQ scores don’t always translate to the NFL, so does Davis have what it takes to manifest his freakish athleticism on the next level? Let’s go to the tape.
The first thing you notice when you see Davis on field is his ability to stop and change direction to evade would-be tacklers without losing significant speed. He’s a big guy with a long stride, so this is certainly impressive to see. Davis has a wide catch radius – his arm length is a full inch longer than the historical positional average for WRs at 33”, and he has sticky hands to boot. His ability to grab the ball away from defenders is evident on most of his catches. He is Georgia State’s all-time leading receiver, with 222 receptions, 3,391 yards, and 17 TDs over his career, breaking most of current NFLer (and RW favorite) Albert Wilson’s records in the process – Wilson also had a role in training Davis for the combine.
What you also notice about Davis is that for a guy his size, he can sometimes have trouble dispensing of defenders who are much smaller, allowing them to jam him up at the line or tackle him without too much effort. A man of his size should be strong-arming corners with ease and looking beastly. Davis also has a penchant for going half-speed and half-effort on plays he’s not involved in. This can carry over into his blocking game on occasion. He’ll need to learn to go all out on every play in order to stay on the field in the NFL. And though Davis is a wiz with the ball in his hands, he doesn’t run many routes, and the ones he does are not very polished. He’s going to have to clean his game play up to be an effective weapon on a consistent basis at the next level.
Fantasy Outlook: Davis could go in the first round of the draft in an AJ Jenkins-like surprise, but he could just as well go undrafted – It’s impossible to tell right now. He got some buzz from his almost 99% SPARQ percentile and the fact the he had similar physical measurements and speed to Julio Jones, but his athleticism is a moot point if he can’t run routes, block, or separate from defenders though. My guess is that he’s a day 3 pick for a team looking to add receiver depth.
Davis played at a small school in college, but he did have a good showing against a tough Wisconsin defense, so maybe he can step up to the big stage without a hitch. He’ll need to be a lot more physical to deal with the NFL’s corners with any success though. With considerable upside and abysmal downside within reach, Davis is a question mark for fantasy purposes. He’s well worth a mid round flier in dynasty leagues, but don’t be too surprised if he goes the way of many athletic but undisciplined players before him.