Over the next three months, we’ll be looking at prospects in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft from a decidedly Cowboys point of view. Taking the Cowboys current personnel, draft position, scheme, and needs into consideration; defensive line, linebacker, defensive backs, as well as complementary offensive pieces at wide receiver, tight end, and perhaps right tackle, we hope to profile the majority of the potential prospects that could realistically end up as Cowboys within the first two rounds. Once the “official visits” start to leak we’ll add prospects that are possibilities in the later rounds.
#84 Corey Davis - Wide Receiver - Western Michigan - 6-3, 213
Games Watched: Wisconsin, Buffalo, Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Ohio
Pros: Prototypical size for a lead NFL receiver (Julio Jones measured in at 6-3, 220 at the Combine in 2011, I think Davis will measure in near that) with long arms and impressive length. Imposing in jump-ball/contested situations with his size, strength, and large catch radius. Very explosive for his size after the catch, and also in terms of getting in and out of breaks. Can turn short to medium gains into big plays with run after the catch ability. Smooth route-runner who lines up outside and in the slot. Ran a diverse route tree in college, including in-breaking routes, out-breaking routes, crosses, slants, and deep routes. Willing to take hits over the middle in order to secure the catch, plays tough. Very physical and ultra-productive. Has good enough speed to threaten defenses deep, especially relative to his size and jump-ball ability. Seems to be a willing blocker, although like most collegiate receivers he could use refinement in that area.
Cons: No noticeable on-field weaknesses. His stats may be a bit inflated due to the fact that he played against a lower level of competition but he was reasonably productive over his career in games against better competition (37 catches for 482 and three touchdowns since 2014 in six games against Purdue, Michigan St., Ohio St., Northwestern, Illinois, and Wisconsin). He has lapses in concentration at times, which lead to drops of easy receptions, but generally speaking his hands are reliable.
Conclusion: I believe that this is the best receiver in the draft. Most pundits have Mike Williams of Clemson ahead of him but I think Davis is more versatile, is a better route runner, has better deep speed to threaten defenses deep, and is more dangerous after the catch. If he went to Michigan instead of Western Michigan I don’t think there is any way he gets out of the top 10 to 12 picks, but as it stands now it seems that he could go anywhere between about 15 to 30. If available I think he will almost certainly be the “Best Player Available”. The question of course is impact, especially if Terrance Williams is re-signed, or perhaps another veteran free agent receiver, can he make enough of an impact to warrant a first-round pick?
You have to imagine it’ll be difficult for him to get on the field over Dez Bryant, Williams or another veteran, and Cole Beasley, not to mention the fact that both Jason Witten and Ezekiel Elliott should be big parts of the passing game next year. With that said I think Davis could be a top 10 receiver in the league three years from now (when Dez Bryant will be 31 going on 32), and one of the top 10 players to come out of this draft, and for me it’d be difficult to pass that up at the end of the first round. If Williams is not re-signed and no established veteran is brought in picking Davis would be a no-brainer in my view.
I do not have access to coach’s film or anything of that nature, I just watch plenty of football (television broadcast version) and go off what I see out of a prospect. I started this odd fascination of mine in 2011 when I sent my breakdown and links to videos of Tyron Smith at USC to the excellent Cowboys blogger Bob Sturm (April 28, 2011 - Even More Tyron Smith Tape). Since then I’ve continued watching prospects closely, but I’ve never taken the initiative to actually formally write my thoughts until I became a writer for BTB. I hope that I can provide an interesting, and accurate perspective on prospects from a Cowboys-centric point of view.
Special thanks to DraftBreakdown for posting the videos that help provide a more an in-depth look at this year’s prospects.