NFL Draft Analysis: James Davis, RB, Clemson Tigers

by Tim Piotrowski on February 24, 2009 @ 00:00:00 PDT


Clemson University running back James Davis finished his collegiate career with a successful senior season. He rushed for 751 yards and 11 touchdowns on 171 carries, leading the team in rushing yards as well as touchdowns despite sharing carries with teammate running back C.J. Spiller. However, Davis, 5-foot-10, 218 pounds, totaled only two 100-yard rushing games during the season. He rushed for at least 10 touchdowns in each of his last three seasons and surpassed the 1,000-yard mark twice in his college career.


  • Lowers shoulders into defenders and drives legs after contact; breaks tackles
  • Uses a powerful stiff arm at times
  • Has the ability to make the corner
  • Of good character; mature
  • Excellent vision and balance


  • Unlikely to be able to outrun defenders in the NFL (timed at 4.55-4.59 seconds in the 40-yard dash)
  • Is not experienced in catching ball out of the backfield
  • Could become more physical as a pass blocker
  • Upside is limited
  • Not elusive

Expected draft placement

Davis likely will be chosen be a team that has an established running back that might be getting up in age so he can be groomed for a year or two. Davis is more of a power runner, so he could be a short-yardage back to begin his career as he learns how to play in the league. He also split time with Spiller during college, so he will be used to sharing the workload with another runner.

Davis likely will be chosen in the third or fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Teams that do not take a running back in the first round could see him as a good value on the second day. Those teams include the Arizona Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and possibly the Indianapolis Colts.

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About Tim Piotrowski

Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.

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