The Philadelphia Eagles signed a total of 16 players in undrafted free agency. The odds are stacked against them but some of those rookies will have a real chance to make the final 53-man roster. I thought it would be useful to acquire an insider's insight on one of the players: UNLV wide receiver Devante Davis. Bleeding Green Nation's Ben Natan already profiled Davis, but in order to learn even more about him, I reached out to SB Nation's Mountain West Conference blog. Jeremy Mauss (@JeremyMauss) was kind enough to answer my questions.
1) What are his strengths?
Just looking at Davis one can see that he fits the bill as a NFL wide out standing at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds. He is deceptive at using his hands to be able to create separation to get open in his route running. Once he catches the ball he is not easy to take down and likes to provide contact to oncoming defenders. He is a great red zone target and has the leaping ability to catch the jump ball.
2) What are his weaknesses?
He could tighten up his route running which allows defenders to jump on the play. He has speed but is not explosive or fast off the line which allows aggressive defenders to interrupt is route running. For all of the catches he can make he looks down field too often and takes his eye off of the ball and has too many easy drops. His injury that kept him out the Senior Bowl and a wrist injury which caused him to miss multiple games last year.
3) Were you surprised he wasn't drafted?
Not seeing him drafted was a shock, I saw him as a late-round pick in the sixth round. However, this draft class was very deep so getting Davis as a UDFA is a good pick up. He performed well at UNLV despite playing for multiple quarterbacks and performed well. There were some issues with injuries and it probably didn't help that freshman Devonte Boyd outperformed him this year. He missed the Senior Bowl with a hamstring injury and played in just eight games in 2013. His 2013 year was spectacular with 14 touchdowns on 87 receptions for 1,290 yards. If he is fully healthy then he should have a solid NFL career.
4) One of BGN's writers is really high on Davis. He even compared him to Alshon Jeffrey in the sense that he's a big wide receiver who is great at attacking the ball in the air. To what extent do you agree with that comparison?
I would agree. Davis has the ability to get the ball in jump ball situation's making him great at catching jump balls or fade patterns. He fights for the ball to the end so if a smaller defensive back does get a hand on a higher thrown ball Davis is good at controlling it and bringing it in. At UNLV he was often targeted in the back of the end zone when they approached the goal line.
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?
Assuming his wrist injury is not longer an issue he should have a solid NFL career. I see huge upside with him being between a high end No. 2 to a No. 3 receiver and a red zone and third down target due to his size and vertical ability to catch the jump ball. However, he may have a tough time cracking the roster with who the Eagles have on their current roster or drafted.
6) Anything else you want to add?
I think he will stick on an NFL team but it might be a few seasons down the road, and it might not be with the Eagles.
Thanks again to Jeremy. Don't forget to check out Mountain West Connection.