Combine Rock Star Robert Davis Can Play
A few weeks ago, I briefly profiled Georgia State wide receiver Robert Davis as a small-school WR to watch at the NFL Combine. He did not disappoint.
At 6-foot-3 and 219 pounds, Davis ran a 4.41 forty and jumped 41 inches in the vertical to go with 136 in the broad. He also posted a 6.82 in the three-cone. According to Kevin Cole’s regression tree analysis of combine drills for WRs, Davis falls into the most positive node in terms of success rate – 48 percent of WRs with a similar profile notched a top-24 PPR season in their first three NFL seasons.
Davis’s stellar athletic performance at the combine placed him at the top of the 2017 WR class in terms of Freak Score, a RotoViz metric using height, weight, and speed to predict future touchdown-scoring potential at the NFL level. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at how Davis compares to previous Freak Score standouts.
Historical Freak Score Comparables
Below are 20 historical prospects similar to Robert Davis in terms of Freak Score:
As you might imagine, we get a wide range of possible outcomes. On the top end we have guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Marques Colston, Mike Wallace, Kelvin Benjamin, and Martavis Bryant. On the bottom end we have a laundry list of guys you’ve likely never heard of.
This isn’t a great surprise given that athleticism is only one element in projecting future NFL success. Although we cannot guarantee Davis will stick because he tops the 2017 WR class in this metric, it is certainly encouraging.
In an effort to get a more comprehensive picture of Davis’s profile and potential comparables, let’s take a look at how he stacks up when we add college production into the equation.
The RotoViz Box Score Scout App allows us to compare both current and past prospects in terms of a multitude of metrics. When we add in career receiving yards and market share, we get some very intriguing results:
While the range of potential outcomes still includes plenty of big misses, this is the type of list I want a prospect to land on if I’m choosing to invest in a dynasty league format.
There’s plenty of evidence pointing to Davis having a chance to be a future fantasy contributor based on measurables and production. Next, we need to address the fact that the majority of Davis’s stats were gathered against Sun Belt competition.
Level of Competition
As is the case with nearly all small-school draft prospects, their schedule strength is almost always a leveled criticism in the evaluation process, and rightly so. Dominating against SEC secondaries is very different from dominating against Sun Belt Conference secondaries. We can’t give Davis a different schedule, but we can look at how Davis performed against Power-5 conference opponents over the course of his career:
Year Opponent Rec. reYDS reTDS
2013 West Virginia 3 39 0
2013 Alabama 3 45 0
2014 Washington 4 40 1
2014 Clemson 2 29 0
2015 Oregon 3 89 1
2016 Wisconsin 8 93 1
While Davis’s catch and receiving yardage totals aren’t astounding, he showed solid results and scored in three of his last four games.
Tied into the idea of lower level competition is Davis’s likely draft spot. According to the latest version of the RotoViz Rookie Scouting Index,1 Davis fails to crack the top-31 WR prospects. Accurately predicting what will happen on draft weekend is nearly impossible, but this isn’t great news for Davis supporters. With his strong combine performance, it’s entirely possible Davis jumps up on multiple NFL draft boards. If that’s the case, Davis becomes even more enticing as a dynasty asset.
Robert Davis is a big, fast WR prospect with the college production profile to match. Although he played in the Sun Belt Conference, he proved himself in limited opportunity against Power-5 defenses. He’ll also likely be reasonably priced in terms of dynasty draft capital necessary to acquire him.
If he barely gets drafted or even goes undrafted, I’m still likely to take a shot on Davis in rookie drafts. If he sneaks into the top-150 picks, I’ll be aggressively targeting him everywhere.
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- Compiled pre-combine. (back)