Draft Analysis: Kellen Davis, TE, Michigan State Spartans
by Bryce McRae
on April 24, 2008 @ 08:55:42
A top athlete coming out of high school, Michigan State tight end Kellen Davis was a late bloomer, only coming in to his own during his final season at Michigan State. Davis experienced a few ups and downs in his college career, most recently during his junior season. An arrest for an off-the-field fight netted him a four-game suspension. Coming back for his senior season, Davis was welcomed by a new head coach that worked him into all areas of the game. Davis excelled in the offense, finishing with 32 receptions for 513 yards and six touchdowns. This was good for second-best on the team. Not only did he contribute on offense, but the team also ran him out as a pass-rushing specialist at times. He finished the season with six tackles (two solo), two sacks and 2.5 tackles for a loss. All told, his final season in college earned him an All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention and likely a spot in this year's draft.
Davis has raised his stock during his offseason workouts, cementing his status as one of the top athletes at his position. He ran crisp routes and showed good hands during the 2008 Senior Bowl, while turning in a solid time of 4.59 seconds during the 40-yard dash at the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine. Twenty-two repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press put him among the best at the position. He does not have the college numbers to make him a high-round pick, but teams this April could be intrigued by his combination of size, speed and strength.
Davis has great size for his position. He has a big frame with a thick upper body that has room for around another 10 pounds without losing any speed. He stands at 6-foot-6 1/2 and weighs 262 pounds, which gives him a solid size advantage over most defenders when it comes to fighting through jams at the line. His size and strength make him tough to bring down with arm tackles, and he is dangerous once he reaches the second level. He gets upfield quickly once he has the ball with a nice burst to elude defenders. His size makes him a big threat in the red zone, especially on shorter routes as he can use his body to shield opposing defenders from the ball. Working up the seam is another strong point as he does not have to slow down to grab the ball, instead he is able to receive it without slowing down.
His dedication on and off the field improved greatly during his final year. Things finally seemed to click for him as he put together his first good season. He showed an ability to run crisp routes and did a good job planting to move quickly out of breaks. Even when he is covered closely, his long arms and size allow him to go around defenders to grab the ball. Davis is still developing this side of his game, but last year he made strides in moving from an overpowering player to an elusive receiver.
As much as his work ethic improved this season, the previous three showed he still needs work on and off the field. His consistency is a question mark because of this, and there are some character concerns stemming from his arrest for the fight and subsequent four-game suspension.
On the field, Davis is a tentative blocker who needs to do a better job placing his hands while blocking in-line. He has a tendency to short-arm his blocks, instead of using his strength to shock his opponents. This comes up at the second level as well. This is another question of effort as he doesn't work at his blocking as he should. He might be strong, but his strength doesn't seem translate as well to the field.
Davis is capable of running crisp routes, but again, the consistency needs to be better. He does not execute his fakes well and tends to drift or take soft cuts. He is not a particularly instinctual player, often failing to adjust to the development of a play - such as working back to the quarterback when the protection fails. Davis boasts good hands but too often allows the ball into his body, resulting in drops.
Expected Draft Placement
Davis is one of the intriguing prospects in this draft due to his versatility and athleticism. While teams looking for a blocking tight end will likely shy away from him, his playmaking ability could make him a good value as a fifth- or sixth-round selection.
About Bryce McRae
Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.
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