After returning a missed field goal to beat Alabama in the 2013 Iron Bowl, most people know who Chris Davis is. An incredible play, that led his team to a win over undefeated Alabama and helped push them closer to the Championship Game. It somewhat reminded me of another 5’10” athlete that won a game against a defending national champion on a historic play. (See: Doug Flutie Hail Mary)
Many people had concerns about Flutie and his height coming out of college even though he had won the Heisman. Davis and his measurables had scouts and GMs around the league concerned as well. The Seahawks have created a blueprint for the copycat league that is the NFL for having big corners. Combine Davis’ height with a 4.55 40 yard dash time at his Pro Day and his stock was dropping from the original 4th – 5th round grade.
After going undrafted, he signed as a free agent with a team that needed corner help after the failed Derek Cox experiment in San Diego. Then the Chargers signed Brandon Flowers. The path to an NFL roster spot got tougher again. That didn’t stop Davis from working hard and doing all he could to make an impression.
I watch the Chargers videos all throughout camp, both the top plays and daily recaps. Soon I started to notice #42. I’d see him breaking up passes and flashing good closing speed and say to myself, “was that #42 again?!”.
Then came the games. He was tried at punt returner, averaging 7.8 yards per return (he averaged 18.7 last year). He played defense with 6 tackles (he had 74 last year) 0.5 a sack and a couple pass breakups (he had 14 last year). The numbers weren’t off the charts, but what you saw on tape was a guy playing fast. I loved how they brought him off the corner in the preseason and that seemed to be a strength.
The question is whether or not he sticks and how much of a role he has on the team. That I don’t know, but he did change his number according to the Chargers today from 42 to 20. I would imagine a guy wouldn’t change his number if he wasn’t sticking around for a bit.
I’ll leave you with this…mostly because I love sports and science and this show is awesome. It’s an analysis of the game winning return for Davis against Alabama. Go Bolts and thanks for reading!
With the 11th pick in the draft, I think the Chargers should be focusing on these 5 players. I would take these players in this order pending on who is available.
1. Lane Johnson OT Oklahoma- Johnson looks the part of a franchise Left Tackle. With a large frame and long, 35 inch arms. He has quick feet. He has a nasty attitude that I love. He is very athletic. He uses his long arms to keep defenders in front of him. Of all the offensive tackles in the draft he has the most upside in my mind.
2. Star Lotulelei NT Utah- Lotulelei is a freakish physical specimen with great size and power. Most people think his best position is DE in a 3-4, but I think he can play NT in a 3-4. He reminds me a lot of Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore Ravens. Ngata started his career as a NT before switching to DE. Lotulelei flashes an explosive burst off the snap. Has the lateral agility and flexibility to slip through gaps and ruin plays before they have a chance to begin. He uses his hands well. Dominates one on one blocks. He is a tremendous athlete for his size.
3. Chance Warmack OG Alabama- Warmack is your classic run blocking OG. He dominated most of the games that I watched. Shows good lateral agility to slide as well as being able to handle powerful bull-rushers. Warmack is equally effective when asked to drive defensive tackles off the ball or beat linebackers to the action at the second level. Warmack should be an immediate impact player, who may even be a Pro Bowler in his rookie season.
4. Jarvis Jones OLB Georgia- Jarvis Jones to me is the best prospect in the entire draft. A terrorizing force off the edge, Jones led the nation in sacks with 14.5, had 24.5 tackles for loss, and forced 2 fumbles despite missing 2 games. The big concern is his health. He was diagnosed with a mild case of spinal stenosis in 2009 and some NFL doctors may be unwilling to clear him. He possesses an explosive burst to compliment very good timing to consistently cross the face of offensive tackles and get them back pedaling. He is a difference maker in my mind.
5. Jonathan Cooper OG UNC- Cooper is a smooth, fluid athlete who has great footwork. He has outstanding balance, who blocks well on the move. He can constantly get to the second level. Cooper has long arms and plays with a wide base. Can play center as well as guard. Flashes some nastiness and responds well to physical challenges.
Everyone knows the Chargers need offensive line help. Beside QB, to me the most important position is OT. The problem the Chargers face, is I don’t see Lane Johnson or the 2 other rated OTs ahead of him falling to the 11th pick. The Chargers also need OGs, but if Lotulelei was still on the board I would take him over Warmack or Cooper. The Chargers defense has never been the same since Jamal Williams retired. Lotulelei is a difference maker in my mind. In a 3-4 defense, the most important position is the NT in my mind. Can you imagine the defensive line for the Chargers with Lotulelei at NT and Reyes and Liuget at DE. I think the Chargers need another pass rusher. Jarvis Jones is the best pass rusher in this years draft. If the Chargers doctors clear him, they need to look very hard at Jones. He reminds me of Von Miller of the Denver Broncos. Those type of players don’t come around every year. The big thing for me is to not reach in the draft. Don’t just take for need. In my mind take best available player.
Go Chargers and Boltup.