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siberian khatru
04-20-2005, 11:05 AM
http://savannahnow.com/stories/041905/2970538.shtml

UGA's Davis a no-brainer for first round in draft

Only question is: Will he play safety or outside linebacker in NFL?

Marc Weiszer
Morris News Service

ATHENS - Thomas Davis said he tries to mirror the way he plays football after Cowboys hard-hitting safety Roy Williams. It will come as no surprise to anyone who has seen Davis play close to the line of scrimmage that he also admires what Ravens All-Pro inside linebacker Ray Lewis brings to a defense.

It remains to be seen whether Davis' NFL future will be as a safety or a linebacker. The junior is the top safety listed by most NFL draft analysts, but some teams could see him as an outside linebacker, where ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. rates him No. 2 at that position.

"I definitely don't have a preference," said Davis, who played outside linebacker at Georgia before injuries prompted coaches to move him to safety. "Whoever drafts me at either one of those positions, I'm going to come in and show them what Thomas Davis can be."

Davis, expected to be a first-round NFL draft pick Saturday, has the speed of a safety with a sub 4.5 second 40-yard dash time and the size at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds to play outside linebacker.

"I think he's blessed because he has the ability to do it all," said Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese. "He plays really hard, really fast and is a giant in our business. He's a good hitter. I think in nickel situations he may line up as a nickel safety or a nickel outside linebacker, but I think on first downs he'll probably line up at strong or free and adjust into different positions according to down and distance after that."

Davis has taken visits to Detroit (10th overall pick), Carolina (14th), Kansas City (15th), New Orleans (16th), Cincinnati (17th) and St. Louis (19th).

The Saints is one team that likes him as an outside linebacker, but the other teams that brought him in for visits talked to him about playing safety, Davis said, despite questions about his ability in pass coverage. Davis' aggressiveness toward the run sometimes leaves him out of position to defend the pass.

Reese said with the way offenses spread the field, teams are moving away from in-the-box safeties who can't match up with quick tight ends or speedy receivers.

"A lot of teams thought I would only be able to play at outside linebacker based on their thinking I was not skilled enough," Davis said. "Once I went out and performed well at pro day and at the combine, I think I've changed a lot of those teams minds. They are definitely looking at me at safety right now."

That's where Todd McShay of Scouts, Inc. believes Davis will fit best on the next level.

"I think he'll be a better strong safety in the NFL as long as a team uses him in the box and utilizes his strengths and weaknesses," McShay said. "Keep him close to the box, let him chase the run, make him an extra linebacker and match him up against a tight end that he can match up against. Play an underneath zone and blitz him off the edge every once in a while. There are ways to protect those guys.

"Dallas has done it for a few years with Roy Williams, and the team that drafts Davis will have to do the same."

Davis is the only first-round safety in this year's draft, according to Frank Coyle of draftinsiders.com, who has Oklahoma's Brodney Pool going early in the second round.

"You want him around the line of scrimmage to make some plays," Coyle said of Davis, whom he projects going in the first round to New Orleans with the 16th pick. "He's a good-looking athlete, a good player who won't be around long."

Whether a team considers his future at safety or outside linebacker.

"He can probably do either one," said former LSU coach Nick Saban, who now coaches Miami. "That's actually an asset. The more multiples and the more roles you have the possibility of playing - because you only have 45 guys active for the game - that just enhances your chances of being successful."

where they rank 'em

Todd McShay, Scouts, Inc.

1. Thomas Davis, Georgia; 2. Brodney Pool, Oklahoma; 3. Ernest Shazor, Michigan; 4. Josh Bullocks, Nebraska; 5. Sean Considine, Iowa.

Mike Detillier, M&D Draft Report

1. Thomas Davis, Georgia; 2. Brodney Pool, Oklahoma; 3. Ernest Shazor, Michigan; 4. Josh Bullocks, Nebraska; 5. Vincent Fuller, Virginia Tech.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN

1. Brodney Pool, Oklahoma; 2. Josh Bullocks, Nebraska; 3. Gerald Sensabaugh, North Carolina; 4. Oshiomogho Atogwe, Stanford; 5. Sean Considine, Iowa.

*Kiper Jr. ranks Thomas Davis as the No. 2 outside linebacker after Derrick Johnson of Texas.

Rain Man
04-20-2005, 11:15 AM
He's already maturing into the pro game by referring to himself in the third person.

Coogs
04-20-2005, 01:02 PM
I know most of you are completely turned off by anybody with the word Safety attached to their name, but damn, I hope we get this guy.

I watched the ESPN crew (I think it was them anyway) a while back, and they stated under the current NFL rules, safety play in the secondary is more important than corner backs. Knight and Davis would make me a lot more comfortable than either Wesley or Woods did last year.

htismaqe
04-20-2005, 01:05 PM
I REALLY want this guy too, Coogs.

But I'm extremely worried by the fact that the retards in our front office INSIST that he's strictly a safety.

Coogs
04-20-2005, 01:08 PM
I REALLY want this guy too, Coogs.

But I'm extremely worried by the fact that the retards in our front office INSIST that he's strictly a safety.

Like someone else stated in another thread, the DV regime will be long gone, and Davis will still be here. The guy is a player. We don't have many of those on defense.

Especially when you consider the media throwning out that Fujita is one of our top two defenders. That is just sad IMO.

siberian khatru
04-20-2005, 01:09 PM
Honest question (excuse my ignorance): Is it real hard in the NFL to be a swingman between S and OLB?

In basketball, you have F-G swingmen (and some C-F hybrids). Even in football, some guys can switch between DE and OLB as pass-rushers. Can you devise a defense that utilizes a guy like Davis who could line up at LB on some rushing downs, and drop back at S in some passing downs?

Or is the game so specialized that it would just be too complicated?

Jack of all trades/master of none? Or shouldn't a guy that talented be a huge asset by giving your D unusual flexibility?

Coogs
04-20-2005, 01:28 PM
Honest question (excuse my ignorance): Is it real hard in the NFL to be a swingman between S and OLB?

In basketball, you have F-G swingmen (and some C-F hybrids). Even in football, some guys can switch between DE and OLB as pass-rushers. Can you devise a defense that utilizes a guy like Davis who could line up at LB on some rushing downs, and drop back at S in some passing downs?

Or is the game so specialized that it would just be too complicated?

Jack of all trades/master of none? Or shouldn't a guy that talented be a huge asset by giving your D unusual flexibility?

I can't answer your question, but it looks to me as if it would be a huge bonus. It should cut down on having to make situational adjustments, which should leave the opposing OC wondering just where Davis is going to line up.

And with Davis being a Consumer Economics major in college, I would assume he has the smarts to handle more than one role.