Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Davis did not participate in Combine drills after undergoing ankle surgery in January. He won’t be ready for Western Michigan’s March 15 Pro Day but is hoping to schedule a workout for teams sometime in April.
No WR in this draft class has a more impressive statistical body of work than Davis.
As a true freshman, he paced his team in catches, receiving yards and TDs, ranking 54th in the nation in catches and 55th in yards. 2014 brought a breakout sophomore season, with Davis finishing 7th in the NCAA in yards and 3rd in TDs. He went on to boost his reception and yardage totals in each of his final 2 seasons.
Davis’ 5,278 career receiving yards are the most in NCAA history. He also holds the record for 100-yard games (27). His 52 TDs rank 2nd all-time behind only Jarrett Dillard’s 60.
And Davis did it without playing on 1 of those crazy, air-raid offenses. Western Michigan’s finishes in passing yards per game the past 4 seasons: 85th, 35th, 26th and 49th.
In his 4-year career, Davis accounted for 33.0% of his team’s catches, 39.8% of the receiving yards and 51.5% of the receiving TDs. Elite market-share numbers.
We’ll probably hear level of competition as a knock against Davis. He shredded the Mid-American Conference. But he also held his own against the “Power 5” conferences (ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12). Check out his game logs against schools from those leagues:
Courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com
Games watched - Michigan St. (2015), Central Michigan, Akron, Ball St., Buffalo, Wisconsin
Davis’ biggest strength might be that he has no real weakness. He doesn’t jump off the tape, but he does a lot of things really well. He’s a threat at all 3 levels of the field and ran routes from both outside the numbers and in the slot.
Not only did Davis carry Western Michigan’s passing game, but he was efficient in doing it. In the 6 games I watched, he hauled in an impressive 67.9% of his targets (55 of 81) and averaged 9.96 yards per target. WMU QB Zach Terrell completed 68.3% of his passes but averaged just 7.53 yards per attempt to all other pass-catchers in those 6 contests.
Davis’ best asset is his after-catch ability. Western Michigan used him on jet sweeps and a bunch of WR screens to get the ball in his hands in space.
Davis displays some serious burst here to beat the angles of 2 different defenders and pick up 14 yards after the catch:
That same burst helps Davis create big separation on short, intermediate and deep routes. Check out the speed out of this break to run away from the DB:
He’s also an advanced route runner, especially at the short and intermediate levels. Davis sets up the defender here by attacking the outside shoulder before making his in-breaking cut:
Davis isn’t as dominant in contested-catch situations, but he does show the ability to win with strong hands and body control.
On that 2nd play, some might argue that Davis should high-point the ball. But I actually think he made the right play. The defender had his back to the ball, and Davis didn’t tip him off that the ball was on its way until it was in his arms.
That being said, Davis didn’t win a single jump ball in the 6 games I watched. He has solid size but doesn’t display a big-time vertical. It’s fair to wonder how effective he’ll be on those 50-50 balls at the next level.
The other knock against Davis is drops. He had 6 of them in the 6 games I watched. They seemed to be more concentration drops than skill or technique related, though, so I’m not considering it a major concern.
Davis isn’t a transcendent physical talent. But there aren’t many of those. And it certainly doesn’t preclude him from becoming a real life and fantasy football star. It just means that landing spot will mean more for his outlook than a guy like, say, Julio Jones.
Davis deserves to be a 1st-round pick and will likely have a shot to immediately become a big part of his NFL team’s passing attack.
I don’t think he has the speed or leaping ability to be a dominant downfield force, but he possesses the quickness, burst and route-running ability to do damage in the short and intermediate areas. His after-the-catch skills will add yardage upside. And he has the frame and ball skills to be a factor in the red zone.
Davis’ well-rounded skill set makes him a relatively safe fantasy bet. And there’s WR1 upside in the right situation.