In a stacked WR class, Texas Longhorns senior Mike Davis isn’t generating a lot of pre-draft buzz. Perhaps, though, he should be:
He is not being talked about much, but #Texas WR Mike Davis ran past 2 of the more hyped corners in this draft with ease this past fall…
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) April 28, 2014
It is worth pointing out that seniors always get undervalued at this time of year, as underclassmen who declare early for the draft do so coming off strong campaigns, and seniors come out with a more easily digestible body of work that is more complete in both positives and negatives. A low risk draft strategy that some teams could execute could be to draft only the highest rated seniors on ones board (although a team that does this would be punting a lot of upside), because it’s a surefire way to get more return on investment.
Mike Davis is a great example of a player who could be undervalued by the draft market. He’s been a starter for a long time with consistent production. He’s played and produced among more famous teammates. He’s done well in the pre-draft process at the East-West Shrine game, but doesn’t display any one physical characteristic that would get him taken early. He’s almost universally regarded as a 3rd to 6th round type of selection and a rotational player at the next level. It’s just that the overall available evidence suggests there is more there than that.
Davis is one of five players in this draft class to average 0.5 TDs/game over the last two years while also averaging 50 receptions and 14.0 yards per catch. The other five are Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt, Alex Neutz of Buffalo, Cody Latimer of Indiana, Donte Moncrief of Ole Miss, and Devin Street of Pitt. Neutz could go undrafted, but the other four are all likely to be off the board by the end of the second day of the draft. Production-wise, Davis isn’t being put in the class of receivers he likely belongs in.
Looking at the same categories from a different angle, Mike Davis is in similar company to Mike Evans of Texas A&M (150 catches last two season), Jeremy Gallon of Michigan (138 catches), and Robert Herron of Wyoming (103 catches). Evans will go at the top of the first round, and Herron and Gallon are slot prospects who shouldn’t last past the third.
It’s hard to say why Mike Davis isn’t generating more pre-draft buzz. Pretty much every player in his class of production is generating significant interest. Davis probably shouldn’t be available in the fourth round, but due to the depth and quality of the class of receivers, it appears he will be. Davis may project as a rotational receiver, but he should be able to start for a desperate team in year one if necessary, and has a good chance to break into an NFL starting lineup by his third season.