James Davis, RB, Clemson

Scouting Reports of running backs and fullbacks in the 2009 draft.
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James Davis, RB, Clemson

Postby Pudge » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:32 pm

James Davis
5-11/211 Clemson
4.45 Senior

Pros: He has a good combination of speed and power. Has good quickness and does a nice job hitting the hole and accelerating through it quickly. A solid north-south runner with good straight-line speed. Keeps his feet moving after contact and runs well downhill to deliver blow to defender. Is a willing blocker and not afraid to throw his weight around. Has nice discipline, patience, and balance as a runner with good vision. Has good character and toughness. Also a nice outlet receiver.

Cons: Can be a bit slow in and out of his cuts, which prevents him from taking an inside handoff and bouncing it outside for a long run. Runs a bit too high which makes him less powerful than his size would normally merit. Dances a bit too much at times and can be hesitant hitting the hole. Doesn't have the shiftiness to make guys miss in the open field. Needs to improve in pass protection because he doesn't get a ton of reps on passing downs.

Overview: Davis was the lead back in Clemson's two-headed rushing attack the past three years, teaming with C.J. Spiller. Best season came as a sophomore where he had 1,134 yards and 17 touchdowns. Had a chance to go pro a year ago, and while his draft stock got worse, I think he was a better player this year, and matured more. He's an Atlanta native.

NFL Forecast: Davis fits very well in a one-cut zone blocking system, and if Mike Shanahan was still around, he would be the ideal fit in Denver. But alas, really only Houston runs that exact blocking scheme, although many teams have similar ones (like Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, etc.). He's a physical runner with good speed, but he's not exactly what I'd call a power back or a home run threat at the NFL level. His best chance of success is going to be how much he can improve on passing downs, as his blocking and receiving potential make him a nice third down option for many teams. In the right scheme, Davis could be a lead back, but I wouldn't exactly call him a feature back that will be able to take 20+ carries as a starter consistently year in and year out. He's best used as a guy that can split carries with another player and have 10-15 carries. In a zone blocking scheme, he could be a nice lead back. He could rush for 1,000 yards there, but he'll never be a special runner.

ATL Forecast: Davis would be a better backup than Norwood as a runner because he's much more capable of running inside than Norwood is. However, he's probably at least a year or two away from making a significant impact on third downs, which would mean he'd likely ride the pine for at least a year. His only real chance of playing would be if Turner got injured or Norwood wasn't re-signed in the near future. Otherwise, he'd probably be buried on the depth chart much like Tashard Choice is in Dallas. But even then, he'd be a nice option to spell Turner and Norwood occasionally. But more than likely he wouldn't really reach his potential until either or both are gone two or three years down the road.

Value: Davis is a nice middle round pick that could come off the board in Round 3 or 4.
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