Dynasty Draft Profile: Devante Davis
April 16, 2015 | Rich Hribar
|22.2||75||220||32 3/8||9 1/2|
*MSYD = % of Team Receiving Yardage
Devante Davis came into 2014 with high aspirations off of a monster junior season in which he caught seven or more receptions in nine of 13 games with four multiple touchdown games. Things didn’t go as smoothly in 2014, as UNLV went through a quarterback change and Davis himself dealt with thumb and wrist injuries, playing in only eight games. Davis has never had a season in which he posted a catch rate above 60 percent, but that number fell all the way to him securing a lowly 43.6 percent (34 of 78) of his targets last season. He was still able to post four 100-yard games in 2014, displaying that his production fall off wasn’t entirely skill based, but it’s still always worrisome to a degree when a player has his production profile take a major hit right before entering the league.
His measured athleticism matches what you see from watching him as he falls below the average marks in speed, explosion and agility for receivers 215 pounds and heavier. That fall off in final season production and limited measured athletic prowess generate these raw comparisons to other receivers entering the league.
|Brian Quick||Appalachian State||2012||33||22.6||76||220||4.55||34.0||119||4.23||7.10||5.9||91.3||0.9|
There are some interesting comps there that go beyond strictly the objective take. Not only were two of his closest peer group top 40 selections, but he and Quick have a large overlap in on-field football traits as well. His physical limitations aren’t damning to his overall outlook since they’re still packaged in a pickup truck sized frame, which is his calling card. He’s more of a big body than a blazer, as he’s not going to gain consistent separation against NFL corners outside of the numbers when it comes to strictly racing down the field. He has stellar body control for his size that makes up for a lot that is lost physically and has good enough boundary skills paired with his size to create an advantage in routes.
As his measured agility marks suggest, he is stiff in breaks, but if your offense is in need of an outside the numbers big body to run nine routes, comebacks, curls and digs, Davis is the prototype receiver to assist in that area.
Davis was a balanced performer in college, displaying some home run ability with seven of his 22 scores at UNLV coming from 30 yards out or longer, but where his physical attributes really show up is in the red zone, an area where he produced half (11) of his career touchdowns. He sometimes gets into the habit of wanting to catch the football on its way down in contested catch situations, but near the paint is where he’s best utilized and can step in day one and help a passing game out in that area of the field.
Even though Davis has some shortcomings in terms in athleticism and had a precipitous drop in final season production the positives in his corner of having two prior seasons above the age trend in production combined with his packaged physical presence are enough for me to take a hard look at him a this current cost. In late March ADP gathered by the great Scott Fish, Davis is currently the 36th overall player selected and the 20th wide receiver. That’s after players I have little interest in like Stefon Diggs, Rashad Greene and Ty Montgomery are off of the board. At that juncture of the rookie draft, you’re picking from a pool of players that all have some red in their ledgers regardless. Landing spot and capital invested in acquiring him will be big sticking points in how his immediate value will be perceived, but Davis’ pros outweigh the pros of those receivers surrounding him in that section of the draft.
As with Tre McBride, Davis’ fantasy future became severely damaged by lack of initial investment, going unselected during the draft. Unlike McBride who went in the late seventh round to a crowded and potentially limited Tennessee situation, Davis did at least get to choose his landing spot by signing with the Eagles post draft. He’ll have to do work to make the roster first as Philadelphia has Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff already on the roster, players they’ve used first, second and third round picks on in the past two drafts and veterans Riley Cooper and Miles Austin. He’ll also have to contend with fellow undrafted rookie Rasheed Bailey for a bubble spot. One of Davis’ main comps above was Cooper, so there’s hope that if he can make the roster, he may be able to push the ineffective Cooper out of the way for 2016 (saving the Eagles $2.9M). If I have a deep enough roster and space, I like targeting Davis late in drafts on that possibility as he’d potentially be the best red zone option in that scenario. If you can wait a year to hold and see how next offseason plays out, he’s still a target for the bottom of rosters as a longer future play.