Let me give you a little peek into one of the harsh realities that come as part of being an NFL Draft analyst, a job I never, not for one second, take for granted and absolutely adore.
A lot of times you get blindsided with what transpires on draft weekend regarding a specific prospect. And you have to just roll with it. Let me tell you a story on this. One of the Practice Squad Power Rankings additions this week is Dolphins defensive back Javaris Davis (he was a 2020 member too). And I’ll always remember Davis. Why? Well, after an illustrious four-year stint at Auburn, that saw him intercept eight passes — two each season — while breaking up 27 others, my layered grading system ranked Davis as the 86th-best prospect in the 2020 class (of course the system simply spits out a number based on me attempting to quantify my observations).
He was a combine invite. At a small-but-not-ridiculously-tiny 5-foot-8 and 183 pounds, Davis ran 4.39 with an average 35.5-inch vertical and an above-average broad jump of 124 inches. He felt like a Day 2 lock, but into my third full draft class with CBS Sports and my seventh full examining draft classes in general, I knew it was conceivable he’d slip onto Day 3. Good film. Good production. SEC. NFL bloodlines. No worries.
Oh and he delivered this hit on Joe Burrow. Still the hardest I’ve ever seen the now Bengals quarterback get hit.
Davis went undrafted. And, of course, it wasn’t the first time a prospect I graded as a Day 2 talent went undrafted. But, for some reason, Davis’ plummet — that to me was completely unfathomable — stuck with me.
When you scout an entire draft class you have to be prepared for everything. And not just the obvious pitfalls of, say, being totally wrong on a quarterback. You have to enter the ultimate marathon that is draft weekend ready to see one of your draft crushes go in Round 6 and the guy(s) you just didn’t…