Given the massive receivers lining up outside in today?s diverse NFL offenses, defensive coordinators are always on the lookout for big, physical cornerbacks. Among the most intriguing candidates in the country this year is Davis, who has made steady improvements over the past three years on the perimeter for the Tigers, culminating with First Team All-SEC honors in 2017 despite producing only a third of the interceptions as a junior than he did as a true freshman.
Davis only recorded one interception over the 2017 regular season ? and it was on a tipped pass ? but SEC coaches recognized his impact for the Tigers, often ignoring his side of the field when play-calling. It is not difficult to see why opponents would avoid Davis. He possesses a prototypical blend of size, speed and physicality and is among the more proven pass defenders in the conference, earning his first start against Dak Prescott and Mississippi State only four games into his true freshman season. Davis made an immediate impression, recording six tackles and forcing a fumble, the first of three the heavy-hitting cornerback would knock free over the next two and a half seasons.
Starting seven of 13 games for the Tigers, Davis recorded a career-high 56 tackles, including 38 solos, two tackles for loss and half a sack. He also broke up eight passes, intercepting three of them. He was recognized with a spot on the All-SEC Freshman squad, the first Tiger defensive back to be thus honored since 2009 (Daren Bates).
The corner played through some nagging injuries in 2016 (which ultimately led to him sitting out against Alabama A&M) and yet he still produced at a high level, allowing just 37 receptions on 64 targets for 517 yards and two touchdowns on the year. Davis? tackles numbers slipped as opponents looked elsewhere and he did not record an interception, though he did tie (with Joshua Holsey) for the team lead with 10 passes broken up and earned Third Team All-SEC honors from some media outlets.
With all due respect to star running back Kerryon Johnson and other key teammates, no one played a bigger role in Auburn winning the SEC West in 2017 than Davis. He recorded a career-high 11 passes broken up over the regular season and was notably effective in limiting projected first round receivers and big play specialists Christian Kirk from Texas A&M and Alabama?s Calvin Ridley in huge wins for Auburn. Kirk caught eight passes total but averaged just 7.75 yards per reception. Ridley caught just three passes for 34 yards in Auburn?s resounding 29-13 Iron Bowl win. Neither caught a touchdown.
Davis is not a flawless prospect, giving up big plays in losses to Clemson and LSU?s talented pass-catchers. He has shown steady development over the past three seasons, however, and possesses the skill-set to suggest that has not yet reached his ceiling.
Signed with Auburn as a highly regarded prep prospect out of the state of Florida following a senior campaign in which he recorded 50 tackles and six interceptions as a senior. Also participated in track, ranking as a district 100 (11.25 seconds) and 200 (22.38) meter dash finalist. Member of the gifted student program in high school. Majoring in business at Auburn, earning Academic Top Tiger honors in 2015.
Davis possesses the long, athletic frame scouts crave in an outside cornerback, including terrific height, broad shoulders, long arms, loose hips and light feet. He uses his long arms and strong hands to deliver a forceful initial jam of receivers at the line of scrimmage, disrupting their release and the timing with the quarterback. Davis possesses the fluid hips to turn and run with receivers, using his size and physical nature to rub them closer to the sideline, providing little room for quarterbacks to squeeze the ball. Davis? long arms and good hand-eye coordination allow him to snake his hand in as the ball arrives, ripping the ball free at the last second. Davis is an alert, physical defender who recognizes and attacks quick screens and runs to his direction, fighting his way through blocks to get involved. He does not hesitate in lowering his shoulder and delivering a strike to ball-carriers, exploding through his hips to create impressive force as a tackler for his position. Davis does not rely upon colliding power, however, using his long arms to lasso ball-carriers attempting to run past him. Durable performer with just one game missed over 38 career games, including 32 starts over the past three seasons. ? Rob Rang 12/18/2017
A bit quick to open up his hips, too often allowing receivers an inside release. Possesses a high-cut build and his long legs leave him vulnerable to ultra-shifty smaller receivers, likely limiting Davis to the perimeter or boundary cornerback positions and not inside at nickel... Could do a better job of getting involved in run support rather than just focusing on his primary responsibility, averaging just nine assisted tackles over the regular season from 2016-17? Does not possess ideal hands for the interception, recording ?just? four picks of 29 passes defensed over 38 career games (not including the 2017 Peach Bowl). Davis' one interception in 2017 came on a tipped pass (Missouri). Comes with some character red-flags as he (and three other Auburn players) were arrested and charged with misdemeanor drug charges involving marijuana in May, 2016? Caught on camera flipping off the Texas A&M players/crowd (2017) after getting called for pass interference -- Rob Rang 12/18/2017
COMPARES TO: Hall of Famer Mel Blount, Steelers. Though he has a long way to go as a pass-catcher to ever evoke comparisons to Blount as a ball-hawk, Like the imposing 6-3, 205 pound Steelers? great, Davis has the size, speed and physical nature which make him a tough draw for any receiver and a potential headache waiting to happen for other ball-carriers running in his direction.
IN OUR VIEW: Long and athletic, Davis is at his best up close in man to man coverage, showing the aggressive hands to latch onto receivers and disrupt their timing, as well as the smooth hip turn, acceleration and quick throttle-down to blanket in coverage. These cover skills, along with a penchant for big hits and reliable open-field tackling likely will result in a first round selection.