Gabriel Davis - How high can he fly?
Gabriel Davis is a player that I was immediately intrigued by when I first saw him in 2017 against S.M.U. (I was watching Courtland Sutton). Davis caught a deep pass from Mckenzie Milton and won a foot race to the house for an 80 yard TD. I was instantly impressed with Gabriel's ability to track the ball and how he outran three S.M.U. defenders. He followed that up with an impressive 8 receptions for 95 yards against UConn. Davis was now firmly on my radar as a "let's see" guy. A true freshman behind Tre'Quan Smith and Jordan Akins, both drafted in 2018, he managed to be 4th in total team yards, finishing 2017 with 391 receiving yards and 4 TDs.
In 2018 I was ready to see what Davis had as a stash in my notepad. It didn't take long as Davis opened 2018 scoring touchdowns in 4 straight games, cracking the century mark against South Carolina in week 2 with 111 yards. Gabriel would have a fantastic sophomore season as he'd lead the team in receiving yards and receiving TD's. His 815 yards ate up 24.8% of the team’s receiving yards, and he soaked up 24.1% of the team’s receiving TDs with 7. My only knock on Davis’ Sophomore season is that he didn’t explode for any multi-score games.
Fun fact: Davis didn’t suffer his first collegiate loss until UCF faced LSU in the 2018 Fiesta Bowl.
2019 was Davis’ first draft eligible year, and he did not disappoint. He cured my multi-score game woes in week one with 2 touchdowns against Florida A&M. He’d actually go on to have 5 multi-score games as a Junior with the Knights. Finding his true stride mid-season Gabriel Davis went gangbusters. In a four game stretch he put up 604 yards and 7 TD'S, including a 119 yard 3 TD game against Cincinnati. 2019 was Gabriel's coming out party as he dominated with his ability to high point balls and haul them in over the shoulder for big plays. Davis would finish 2019 with 1241 yards, a 30.14% share, and 12 TD's, good for 33.33% of the team’s receiving touchdowns. If there were doubts about him in the analytics crowd, 2019 surely must have quieted them.
The Combine was good to Davis in my opinion, he ran the goal line fade drill very well despite poor QB play and showed what I expected for the most part.
Tale of the Tape:
6 feet 2 inches tall
33 1/4" Arm Length
77 1/2" Wingspan
9 1/4" Hands
40 time: 4.54
Bench: 14 reps
Broad Jump: 124"
3 cone: 7.04
While I was a bit disappointed with the vertical jump, Davis’ broad jump was impressive. The combine isn't a place to lose our heads. But we undoubtedly will. The fact is: Davis has shown enough tape to be a WR1 in the NFL, and his numbers in 2019 backed it up for the analytics crowd. A 22 year old entering the league, he still has time to correct whatever concerns people may have. I've recently seen Davis compared to Larry Fitzgerald. I ran his numbers in the box scout at rotoviz.com putting in height, weight, 40 time and draft position inside the top 75. The two comps that jump out are Juju Smith Schuster and Michael Thomas, and that's some great company. Available usually in the late 2nd or early 3rd round of rookie drafts, Gabriel Davis is a player I'm more than willing to roll the dice on. Davis is a player that can contribute immediately as a rookie with a nose for the endzone. I'm excited to see what Gabriel Davis can do.
There are a host of teams in the NFL who could look to add Davis to their pass catching corps. The Giants could use another WR over 6 feet, the Jets could use an immediate WR1, the Saints have been looking for a WR2 ever since they drafted Tre'Quan Smith, the Bills have been linked to a WR in round 1, but if they decide to pass Davis would make a great fit in round 2. Finally, if the Chiefs let Sammy Watkins walk, Davis could slot in immediately as his replacement.
Give Jim a follow on twitter and connect to give him some feedback or any article ideas you may have!