Pro Day recap: Davis shines at Gamecocks workout
Seventeen draft-eligible South Carolina Gamecocks worked out for NFL scouts on their home field Wednesday as part of the school’s annual Pro Day leading up to the NFL Draft in April.
One Gamecock in particular did wonders for his draft stock: tailback Mike Davis. Projected as a mid-round pick, Davis weighed in at 211 pounds, 13 pounds lighter than his playing weight last season. It was obvious his weight loss had affected his game when he ran an unofficial 4.38-second 40-yard dash Wednesday; he ran a 4.61-second 40 at the NFL Combine in February. (The key word here is “unofficial” but those times are often off less than one-tenth of a second, meaning Davis almost certainly improved his time from the combine.)
— 4HomeFieldAdvantage (@4HFAdvantage) April 1, 2015
“I hope I helped myself. I wanted to come out here and compete and show what I can do,” Davis told The Big Spur. “I would say it’s less stressful (in Columbia) than at the combine. At the combine it’s four days, but it seems like seven. I would say a lot of stress has been taken off and you do better on pro day.”
Davis is known to have good hands for a tailback (32 receptions last season) and he is a capable blocker in addition to a powerful runner, even with his new slimmer physique.
One NFL team in need of a tailback is the Atlanta Falcons, and Davis happens to be an Atlanta native. He reportedly took part in the Falcon’s Locals Day on Tuesday (according to the Atlanta Journal–Constitution), and told reporters he’d love to play for the Falcons, but he’d love to play for anyone else too.
“If the Falcons draft me, I wouldn’t be mad at that. Of course I love being at home with my family,” Davis told The Big Spur. “I don’t really care where I go, as long as I make the team. I watch all of the NFL teams, I think I can fit in any system.”
The other major storyline from Wednesday’s workout involved the Gamecocks’ pair of touted offensive line prospects: tackle Corey Robinson and guard A.J. Cann.
There was certainly an emphasis put on scouting offensive linemen on Wednesday, especially Cann, as indicated by the list of onlookers in attendance.
According to @TonyPauline, the Patriots were among five teams with offensive line coaches in attendance for South Carolina's pro day.
— Oliver Thomas (@OliverBThomas) April 1, 2015
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) April 1, 2015
There were also reports that teams had Cann playing multiple positions. Logic tells us that a player capable of playing more positions has widened the pool of teams interested in drafting him.
"@TonyPauline: Interesting note from South Carolina pro-day- guard AJ Cann doing a lot of word at offensive center."
— Adam Bogdan (@PatriotsInform) April 1, 2015
Another interesting NFL prospect, tight end Rory “Busta” Anderson, did not participate in Wednesday’s activities according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution due to “a minor hamstring injury.” However, scouts have maintained interested in the athletic tight end.
Anderson's a really intriguing, athletic prospect. Name's been buzzing. He'll schedule a pro day in the coming weeks. pic.twitter.com/wzDFqjG3n8
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) April 1, 2015
And with perhaps the most unexpected workout of the day, wideout Damiere Byrd had jaws dropping when he ran a 4.28-second 40-yard dash on the grass at Williams-Brice Stadium, according to NFL Media. Studies show 40 times are on average 0.13 seconds slower when ran on natural grass as opposed to turf.
The wideout also displayed a 42-inch vertical, a broad jump of 10 feet, 11 inches, and a time of 10.9 seconds in the 60-yard shuttle, which is reportedly a faster time than any posted at the combine.
Said NFL Media reporter Gil Brandt: “Byrd — who has a track and field background — is a small guy with a lot of speed. With those kind of pro-day numbers, Byrd will be a minimum of a priority free-agent pickup for a team following the 2015 NFL Draft.”
Other news & notes from Pro Day:
— Shawn Spencer (@Spencer_NFL) April 1, 2015
Dylan Thompson completed all 41 of his passes Wednesday at South Carolina's Pro Day.
— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) April 1, 2015
South Carolina OL A.J. Cann's 40-yard dash. pic.twitter.com/hegkkGMMjl
— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) April 1, 2015
Mount Corey Robinson talking to the media after his Pro Day. pic.twitter.com/dQS9gqZhqn
— Collyn Taylor (@collynptaylor) April 1, 2015
Clemson's pro day this year versus South Carolina's… Unfortunately for gamecocks, this is not an April Fools joke pic.twitter.com/ZeWKO2fWXu
— George Battersby (@G_Battersby) April 1, 2015