Photo of Fred Davis
Grade
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  • 24 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 6'4" Height
  • 248LBS. Weight

Overview

When the former high school running back enrolled at Southern California, few expected him to finish his career as the team's record holder for receptions by a tight end. With his natural hands and excellent quickness, Fred Davis often created mismatches, especially for opposing linebackers trying to cover him on deep routes. He would be used as a wideout in multiple-WR formations, adding another dimension to the Trojans' passing attack.

With his athletic ability and emergence as a receiver, it was not surprising that he was recognized as the best tight end in college football. The 2007 recipient of the John Mackey Award, Davis averaged 14.2 yards per reception in 2007, second among the nation's tight ends. He was the first tight end since 1985 to lead Southern California in receptions (62).

At Rogers High School, Davis earned Super Prep, Prep Star and Insiders.com All-American first-team honors. He was a second-team USA Today All-USA choice and named to the Super Prep Elite 50, Prep Star Top 100 Dream Team and Tom Lemming Top 100 squads. The Super Prep All-Midwest Offensive MVP, Prep Star All-Midwest and All-Ohio selection had over 500 receiving yards, 600 rushing yards, 100 tackles and four interceptions while scoring 12 touchdowns as a wide receiver, running back, quarterback and strong safety in 2003.

As a junior, he made the Student Sports Junior All-American and All-Ohio squads while running for 1,100 yards and catching 50 passes for over 700 yards, with 26 scores on offense. He also registered 80 tackles and two interceptions on defense. On the basketball team, Davis averaged 15 points per game and also participated as a hurdler on the track team.

Davis graduated a semester early from high school and enrolled at USC in the spring of 2004, where he was a reserve wide receiver and tight end as a first-year freshman. He saw action in nine games, finishing that first season with 30 yards on four catches.

While playing mostly in reserve in all 13 games in 2005, Davis earned three starting assignments -- vs. Stanford, California and Fresno State. He finished with 13 caches for 145 yards (11.2-yard average) and two touchdowns, showing the coaching staff that he was ready to replace departed Dominique Byrd as the Trojans' starting tight end in 2006.

As a junior, Davis started 10 of 13 contests. He collected 352 yards with three touchdowns on 38 receptions (9.3-yard average). That performance earned him second-team All-Pac-10 Conference honors from The NFL Draft Report and Scout.com.

In 2007, Davis finally earned national attention. In addition to winning the Mackey Award as college's top tight end, he was USC's first All-American first-team tight end since Jim Obradovich in 1974. He is the first tight end to lead USC in receptions in a season since Joe Cormier in 1985, in receiving yardage since Hoby Brenner in 1980 and in touchdown receptions since Antoine Harris in 2000. He went on to catch a career-high 62 passes for 881 yards (14.2-yard average) and eight touchdowns while also recording a pair of tackles.

In 48 games at Southern California, Davis started 28 contests. He holds all of the school career and single-season records for tight ends, finishing with 117 receptions for 1,408 yards (12-yard average) and 13 touchdowns. He recorded a pair of solo tackles and also recovered an onside kickoff.

Analysis

Strengths

Positives: Has a thick chest with muscular arms, thick thighs and calves, very long arms, large hands and a frame that can carry at least another 10 pounds of bulk without having the added weight impact his overall quickness...Runs with a normal stride, showing flashes of initial quickness, and is precise making his cuts in attempts to reach top speed...Has the balance and body control, along with the long reach, to get a strong push off the press and looks very coordinated in his stride, showing fluid change-of-direction agility for his position in order to work back for the ball...Has enough of a valid burst to threaten the deep secondary and is sudden in his moves operating in space...Has that second gear to elude after the catch and while he needs to be more physical making initial contact as a blocker, he has the leg drive to power through arm tackles...Has worked hard to improve his blocking technique, but is better as a cut blocker than when operating in-line...Used to be late coming off the snap, but he made a pad adjustment as a senior and now sinks his weight better, showing the burst out of his cuts to separate after the catch...Comes off the line with steady acceleration, but is best vs. the veer release...Has the quickness and body control getting off the line of scrimmage to surprise a second-level defender, and demonstrates the loose hips to adjust and work to get open...He can extend and adjust to the ball in flight and will work to get open, showing good hand-eye coordination and concentration tracking the ball in flight...Quick plant-and-drive type (was not in the past) who works hard to uncover and will battle for the contested ball...Has large, natural hands, extending outside of his frame to win jump-ball battles and is conscious to ball security, holding on to the ball well vs. initial contact...Has become a better short-area blocker than he was in the past and shows good delay moves getting into his underneath routes, executing with quick head and shoulder moves to escape and elude past the line of scrimmage...Has adequate flexibility and agility adjusting to the off-target pass and shows good intent and effort on contact to shed a tackle and work up the field...Will sometimes cradle the ball, but can extend and catch with ease without losing his concentration when working in a crowd...Might lack that explosive sudden burst, but has very good agility adjusting to off-target passes and does not struggle trying to look the ball in over his outside shoulder...As a blocker he is aggressive to gain position and battle, but he still needs to improve his overall strength and technique to be effective in this area at the next level...Times his leaps well to catch the high throws and uses his long arms to extend over the defender or make the scoop grabs along his shoestrings...Has the head fakes and moves to surprise a lethargic defender in attempts to gain additional yardage after the catch. Negatives: Lacks ideal size and bulk, but compensates with long arms and good timing on his leaps to win most jump-ball battles...Adequate student who needs several reps to retain plays...Has good speed, but is sometimes late off the snap, especially when he tries to power his way through the jam rather than push off...Generally alert to stunts, but can be drawn offside, as his concentration seems to lapse when asked to stay and block in-line...Struggles to easily avoid defenders in the open, as he tries to get too fancy with his moves, at times...Not physical on contact and seldom able to control and finish when asked to block vs. bigger defensive linemen...Makes an inconsistent effort to quickly reach the second level and is seldom able to gain position or control the defender (needs to stay with his blocks longer in the open field and will shy away from contact at times)....Needs to improve his overall strength, as he lacks the ideal power and body mass to be an efficient lead blocker at the next level... Makes good body adjustments going up for the ball, but needs to give up his body better in attempts to secure the catch in crowded areas. Compares To: CHRIS COOLEY-Washington...As an H-back or playing the role of receiving tight end, teams will find Davis is quite successful at getting to the ball in the open. He lacks the "sand in his pants" along with bulk and strength to be a blow-up type of blocker and only gives marginal effort when blocking in-line, but he gets out in front on outside runs and while not physical, he will pester a second-level defender. He has the long reach and timing to get to the ball at its high point and has never had ball-security issues after the catch. Flex him out or keep him in motion and you will get very good production from Davis, especially when needing a bigger receiver to attack the deep secondary.
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.
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