Last year Mike Shanahan found another late round running back gem in Alfred Morris but with Roy Helu jr.'s injuries and the solid but unspectacular play of Evan Royster, it wouldn't be surprising if the Redskins found a late round running back to complement Morris. Enter Knile Davis, after measuring in at 5'10", 227 lbs. and running a 4.37 in the 40, Davis has teams intrigued as he has prototypical NFL size and speed. Davis himself is not shy with comparisons telling reporters at the combine,"the guy[s] I really compare myself [to] would be more of an Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson", and even our own Tiller56 wrote a brief couple of lines about him in an article profiling 2013 draft prospects last August where he compared him to Darren Mcfadden (click here to read the article).
As I said Davis has great size and speed, he is primarily a north/south runner with good cutback ability. His speed lets him reach the outside quickly and once in open space he is difficult to catch. As a receiver he shows good hands and his speed makes it difficult for linebackers to pick him up out of the backfield. While not a great blocker he has good strength and agility and showed a willingness to stick his helmet into trouble. Scheme wise he has experience in a zone running attack and apparently feels comfortable in it saying, " [I'm like] Arian Foster with the zone running. I'm really good at running the zone."
(For what it's worth) Davis was a star at the combine, in addition to his 4.37 in the 40 (2nd among running backs) Davis also benched 225 lbs. 31 times (also 2nd among running backs). Not only was Davis fast but of backs who weigh at least 220 lbs. only Ben Tate (who weighed in right at 220 lbs.) has ever run faster when he clocked in with a 4.34 40 in 2010.
Injuries, Injuries, Injuries. After a promising 2010 season where he rushed for more than 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns in the SEC, his 2011 season was derailed before it even began with a broken ankle in practice that not only sidelined him for the year but caused him to miss all of the practices leading up to the 2012 season. Unfortunately while the ankle was his latest injury, it wasn't his first in fact in high school he fractured his collarbone his junior year and broke his ankle his senior year. While some have labeled him injury prone he refutes that saying, "You can't prove that you're not going to get hurt. That's why I don't understand the injury-prone tag. You can't say someone's injury prone, because anyone on the field can get hurt. You can have a hot No. 1 pick, and he can get hurt, too. And then someone who's been hurt can never get hurt again. There's no way to prove it."
In addition to injury concerns, ball security is a big problem for Davis as he had 7 fumbles in 2012. That's right, 7 fumbles. Now the Redskins boast one of the best running back coaches in the NFL in Bobby Turner so maybe all Davis needs is proper coaching to refine his technique but even so his fumbling is a concern.
As a late round pick Davis is an intriguing prospect, his speed, size and ability out of the backfield make him a nice complement to Alfred Morris. I've seen a couple draft sites list him as high as a potential 3rd rounder, but in my view his injury history, ball security problems and the overall value of running backs in today's NFL lead me to believe that the 4th or even 5th round is the earliest a team would take a chance on him. While his injury history is a concern he has enough value to warrant a late round pick and if he developed could eventually give the Redskins a 1-2 punch similar to the Texans (who have Arian Foster and Ben Tate). If I'm the Redskins his injuries and fumbles concern me but if he's still there in the 6th, he might have too much potential to pass up.
Projected Round: 4th - 7th
- Height: 5' 10"
- Weight: 227
- Arm Length: 29¾"
- Hand Size: 8⅝"
- 10 Yard Dash: 1.49
- 40 Yard Dash: 4.37
- Bench Press: 31
- Vertical Jump: 33½"
- Broad Jump: 121"
- 3 Cone Drill: 6.96
- 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.38