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NFL Draft Profile: Mike Davis

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After a spectacular sophomore campaign, Mike had a relatively rough go of it during his junior season. However, he still showed flashes of what made him an elite runningback in 2013.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

College Career in Review:

Mike Davis had a tough act to follow in being the heir apparent to Marcus Lattimore. However, he proved to be up to the task in his sophomore year as he rushed for 1,183 yards with 11 touchdowns as he earned a 2nd team All-SEC nomination. However, toward the end of the 2013 season, it seemed that some nagging injuries started to catch up with Mike. Through his first 9 games as the starter, Mike averaged well over 100 all-purpose yards a game. Toward the end of the season however, Mike started to struggle. After gaining over 1,000 rushing yards through the first 3/4's of the season, Mike staggered to the finish line as averaged a meager 125 yards over the last three games he played, only averaging 3.7 YPC after having an absurd 6.57 YPC through the first 9 games. Despite this slow finish, USC fans reassured themselves that with the new season, Mike would round back into form. Davis even earned some buzz from pundits that put him on equal footing with Todd Gurley. However, despite showing flashes of being an elite player again, he never consistently put together performances quite like he did early on in 2013.

Combine Numbers and Measurables

Height Weight 3 Cone Drill 20 Yard Shuttle 40 Yard Dash Vertical Jump Broad Jump Bench Press Reps (225 pounds)
5'9'' 217 lbs. 7.00 seconds 4.18 seconds 4.61 seconds (4.52 seconds on USC Pro-Day) 34'' (35 1/2'' on USC Pro-Day) 116'' 17 reps

Strengths:

Mike's frame plays as a huge advantage for him. Being a solid and compact runner, he is naturally low to the ground and does not provide a large target for defenders to hit. Uses his pads very well in both the open field and in short yardage situations. In the open field, uses his pads to gain acceleration and run through smaller defenders and finish strong on his runs. In goalline/short yardage spots, uses his pads to get the tough yards needed and also does a good job of keeping his feet moving. Mike is also a good receiver out of the backfield, and an adequate pass blocker, which is very important in the NFL today.

Weaknesses:

Even though Mike has some surprising top end speed and is a very violent runner, most of the time he is unable to make defenders miss in the open field. Sometimes when trying to find a running lane, will get impatient and duck his head too early, which causes him to lose his upfield vision and will run into his offensive linemen. At other times, when getting impatient, he will dance in the backfield when nothing is there and try to make something out of it, which will cause him to lose yards that he shouldn't have. Also, a major question mark should be his durability and work ethic. He came into his junior season a bit out of shape and spent most of it dealing with nagging injuries.

What They're Saying:

From NFL.com

"Not the same guy (in 2014). I think he had a rib injury early, but that's not what bothers me. You look at Alshon's conditioning, Clowney's last year, and now Davis? He's got talent, but he can't just half-step and think he's going to make our league." -- NFC South scout

Draft Projection:

I think that quote from the NFC South scout really encompasses the general attitude about Mike. He has absurd amounts of natural ability, and flashed that talent often during his time here at Carolina. However, his inability to stay on the field and stay in shape should concern people. Even though he has some pre-draft buzz, I would not expect him to get picked especially early. A guy like this can be hard to project. While Davis has absolutely enormous upside, teams may be afraid to pick him up because of the injury issues. Look for Davis to get picked from anywhere in the early 3rd round to the middle 5th round.