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ESPN Insider Breakdown of Anthony Davis's College Metrics.


Here is the draft lab for Davis.

A hot topic between now and mid-January: should the top juniors in college football declare for the 2010 NFL Draft? In recent weeks, Jimmy Clausen and Jake Locker have shown the two sides of this decision.

 

 

The Draft Lab's take on matters of this nature stems from something Bill James said in his "Baseball Abstract" books; he was asked quite frequently whether or not certain baseball stars near the end of their careers should hang it up or continue to play at a lesser level and possibly hurt their reputation in the process.

 

 

James' standard response to this was best summed up when he said, "It's my time and my talent and my life, and these are three of my most precious possessions. Why should I let [anyone] tell me what to do with them?" He didn't want someone making decisions of that nature for him or even trying to pressure him one way or the other, as he felt perfectly capable of making choices for himself. He also believed it wasn't fair to do it to anyone else and therefore would not weigh in on the matter

 

 

As such, when I evaluate juniors, I will not be suggesting whether they should stay in college or turn pro; they know their individual situation far better than I ever could.

 

 

What I can do is approach this from an NFL team perspective and indicate whether or not the metric and scouting research say that the player is NFL-ready at this time.

 

 

With that, let's talk about Anthony Davis, a junior offensive tackle on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

 

 

 

The book on Davis' potential draft day value varies a bit depending on the source; Todd McShay's first Mock Draft has him at No. 10, whereas Mel Kiper has him as the No. 1 junior OT but doesn't have him on the Big Board.

 

 

After breaking down tape of five Rutgers games (vs. Cincinnati, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. South Florida, at Louisville, vs. West Virginia), it is fairly easy to see why opinions on Davis could have this level of divergence.

 

 

In the Cincinnati game, Davis didn't look NFL-ready; in fact, he looked like he should be benched. He gave up four splash plays (defined as when a defender does something to negatively impact a passing play) and was defeated on two of the five blocks he made at the point of attack (POA) of a run.

 

 

Now contrast that to his performance against South Florida defensive end George Selvie. Selvie received a preliminary TFS seal of approval in his Draft Lab review and ranks No. 5 in Scout's Inc's. 2010 draftable senior DL list (he currently has a scouting grade of 93), but Davis completely dominated him. He did not allow a single splash play in the 15 one-on-one pass rush situations between these two. Selvie tried eight different pass rush moves or move combinations and Davis was able to neutralize every one of them. This performance was more indicative of Davis' overall play in the other four contests where he gave up only four splash plays.

 

 

This inconsistency also showed up in Davis' run blocking metrics. The plus side is that Scarlet Knight runners gained 5.5 yards per carry when Davis was among those blocking at the point of attack. The minus side is that if penalties and blocking mistakes are included into the total, Davis had nine POA losses in only 55 blocks. That equates to an 83.6% POA win percentage, a total that would have ranked 17th among NFL left tackles last year. If Davis can only manage that mark in college, it stands to reason the percentage could drop at the professional level.

 

 

The scouting eye indicated a significant issue with Davis' ability to block downfield. Rutgers play calls often had Davis releasing to engage a linebacker at the second level and he was very quick to get to where he needed to be. Once he got there, however, Davis had a bad habit of not moving his feet. He would run to get in front of the linebacker and then plant himself and the linebackers would often get around him quite easily because of this.

 

 

That weakness can be coached out of him, but it's really a microcosm of Davis' entire game. He has the ability to be a truly great player but he's inconsistent in some ways and raw in others. Pair him up with the right offensive line coach and he could be the next Ryan Clady. Pair him up with the wrong coach and he could be a complete bust.

 

The Football Scientist lab result: This is one of the hardest Draft Lab calls of the year but seeing as how he'll likely be a top 15 pick despite being a coaching project, the pendulum has to swing towards overhyped.

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