Cowboys’ Potential Draft Picks: RB Knile Davis, DT Jesse Williams
My two latest scouting reports are on Arkansas running back Knile Davis and Alabama defensive tackle Jesse Williams. On Davis:
One of the biggest concerns with Davis will be his ball security. He put the ball on the ground quite a bit during his time at Arkansas because he carries the ball loosely and often tries to change hands in traffic. It’s worth noting that Davis, who had 32 career receptions in college, appears to be a pretty natural pass-catcher.
Davis is really difficult to project because it’s tough to tell how much teams will value his measurables. He was probably looking at the sixth round prior to the Combine, so it’s not unreasonable to think Davis could jump into the third round, or even the second, when all is said and done.
Despite his weaknesses, there are two stats that show Davis could be a steal in the middle rounds. First, there’s a pretty strong correlation between body mass index (BMI) and NFL success for running backs. At 5-10, 227 pounds, Davis’s BMI is very high at 32.6—right in line with Emmitt Smith, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Earl Campbell. That’s not to say that Davis will have a career similar to those players by any means, but it’s still worth noting that he has the sort of build that has led to success in the past.
Second, and perhaps more important, the most productive running backs in recent years have had one thing in coming—speed.
Since 2008, it’s been very rare to see any running back who ran worse than a 4.49 have much success in the NFL. Backs who ran between 4.50 and 4.59—generally considered decent times for running backs—have produced around one-quarter of the approximate value of sub-4.50 running backs. And yes, the backs with elite speed have been the best of the bunch; among the running backs to clock in under 4.40 are DeMarco Murray, C.J. Spiller, Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, and Jamaal Charles.
The lack of production for Davis in 2012 has to scare you, but you simply can’t overlook a 227-pound running back with 4.37 speed. In my opinion, he’s worth the gamble in the third.
Check out the entire Davis scouting report at Dallas News.
At 6-3, 323 pounds, Williams is a big defensive tackle with strength to match. It’s very possible that he’s the strongest player in this defensive tackle-heavy class, reportedly bench pressing over 600 pounds. For the most part, that strength translates to the field.
In the running game, Williams rarely gives up ground at the point-of-attack. He doesn’t have the athleticism to chase ball-carriers down the line, but he can be effective in short-yardage situations. Williams is also relatively quick for a big man when he’s moving forward. His lateral agility is sub-par, but he’s faster off of the snap than some other nose tackles.