Prospects

Prospects
Photo of Vontae Davis
Vontae Davis (CB)
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 203
College: Illinois
Conference: Big Ten
Hometown: Washington, DC
High School: Dunbar
Featured Prospects
Selected by: Miami Dolphins
Round: 1
Pick (Overall): 25 (25)
Discuss
Pick Analysis: The ultra-talented cover corner from Illinois has the all of the tools to be an impact player as a rookie. As a big corner with outstanding feet and instincts, Davis is capable of matching up with the division's superior cast of receivers. Although he suffers from mental lapses at times, Davis' talent significantly boosts the quality of play in the Dolphins' secondary.
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis
Overview

With tight end Vernon Davis the sixth overall selection by San Francisco in 2006, his younger brother, Vontae, could be joining him shortly as a first-round pick. That means 2009 could mark the first time the two brothers will compete vs. each other in an organized football game.


The Fighting Illini cornerback was the cornerstone for Illinois returning to the postseason in his sophomore year. Much like Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins, Davis is one of the most physical pass defenders in the collegiate game. A little more of a gambler than Jenkins, Davis has been known for coming up for the spectacular play in crunch time situations.


In 36 games at Illinois, Davis was responsible for the opposition turning the ball over 12 times and has also delivered 13.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Unlike most cornerbacks, the Illini junior has provided the team with a dominant force vs. the running game, as six of his seven stops for loss in 2008 came inside the red zone. Of his 78 tackles that season, 23 came on third-down plays, with two others on fourth-down action.


At powerhouse Dunbar High School, Davis was a Prep Star All-American and Washington D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year. He was named to the Washington Post All-Metro team, in addition to picking up DCIAA West first-team All-Conference honors. He was rated the top recruit in the Washington D.C. area by Rivals.com, and received a three-star recruit ranking by Rivals.com and Scout.com.


Davis had eight interceptions and 38 solo tackles as a senior. He also added 25 receptions for 612 yards and recorded more than 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2005. He led Dunbar High to a 9-2 record and defeated Coolidge in the Turkey Bowl, the DCIAA city championship game.


The third-fastest defensive back at the State College NIKE camp, Davis chose Illinois over Maryland, Michigan State and Virginia. He was a consensus Freshman All-American first-team pick in 2006, adding All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention and team Rookie of the Year honors. In his first collegiate season, he started all but the Ohio State contest at strong-side cornerback. He ranked sixth on the squad with 52 tackles (30 solos), as he picked off one pass and deflected six others.


As a sophomore, Davis was named All-Big Ten Conference first-team. He was the only sophomore selected a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back. He started 12 games at right cornerback, missing the Northwestern clash and three quarters of the Ohio State contest after suffering a concussion. He still managed to finish fourth on the team with 76 tackles (56 solos) that included four stops for loss. He deflected eight passes and intercepted four others. On special teams, he averaged 29.0 yards on four kickoff returns and blocked two punts, returning one for a touchdown.


Davis was a Playboy All-American selection in 2008, adding All-Big Ten Conference first-team honors, as he was again a Thorpe Award semifinalist. He started 11 games, coming off the bench vs. Iowa, as he placed second on the squad with 78 tackles (53 solos) and seven stops behind the line of scrimmage. He caused three fumbles and recovered another while breaking up eight passes to go with a pair of interceptions. He also averaged 19.8 yards on five kickoff returns.


High School

Attended Dunbar (Washington, D.C.) High School, playing football for head coach Craig Jefferies...Prep Star All-American and Washington D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year...Was named to the Washington Post All-Metro team, in addition to picking up DCIAA West first-team All-Conference honors...Rated the top recruit in the Washington D.C. area by Rivals.com, and received a three-star recruit ranking by Rivals.com and Scout.com...Had eight interceptions and 38 solo tackles as a senior...Added 25 receptions for 612 yards and recorded more than 1,000 all-purpose yards in 2005...Led Dunbar High to a 9-2 record and defeated Coolidge in the Turkey Bowl, the DCIAA city championship game.


Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange.

Analysis

Positives: Rare combination of size and pure athleticism. Chiseled frame. Excellent straight-line speed. Loose hips to turn and run. Instinctive defender who recognizes the action when playing off-man or zone and closes downhill. Rare aggression in run support. Physical tackler with legitimate explosive hitting ability. Can separate the ball from the ball-carrier. Times his blitzes well and can close when the opportunity presents itself. Good special teams performer with punt and kick return experience. Blocked two kicks in 2007. May boast unmatched upside at this position.


Negatives: Not a natural playmaker. Inconsistent hands for the interception. Doesn't fight through blocks with the physicality in which he comes up to tackle. Best in off-man and zone coverage where he can watch the action, plant and drive to the ball. Faster in shorts than on the field. Peeks back at the quarterback and savvy route-runners can beat him with double moves. Was benched in 2008 by coach Ron Zook, creating questions about his work ethic. Concerns that Vontae, like his brother, Vernon Davis, may lack the drive to turn his unique athleticism into NFL success.


Compares To: RON BARTELL, St. Louis -- Davis packs a good punch as a tackler, but plays out of control. He is a bit of a riverboat gambler and is eager to attack the ball, but he shows good hands and timing to disrupt the pass before the receiver can settle under it. He needs to play with better control and based on the average year he had in 2008, he could have used another year in school to improve his draft stock, which has been sliding a bit ever since his standout freshman season. But, once he matures, he could rank with the league's elite.


Injury Report

2007: Suffered a concussion in the first quarter vs. Ohio State (11/10), missing the rest of that game and the following week vs. Northwestern (11/17).


Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange.

NFL News
CONTENT
15