Anthony Davis, Rutgers

anthony davis

Offensive Tackle

Junior

6’ 6” 325 lbs.

Strengths: Quickness, Balance, Pass Protection.

Weaknesses: Desire, Motivation Weight Control. 

By Bryan Dietzler

Depending on who you talk to, Davis either has a lot of potential to be a solid offensive tackle in the NFL or the potential to be a bust.  Granted, he has struggled at times during his career but if he gets a good chance and makes the most of it he could be one of the better finds in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Let’s take a look at Davis and see what will make him attractive to NFL Scouts and what might keep some teams from drafting him in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Davis has the size that you would look for in a starting NFL offensive tackle which is good.  His build is pretty solid as well and is pretty durable.  He is also very strong possessing good upper and lower body strength.  He has a long wingspan and can keep defenders at bay with that long reach.  Davis does play mean most of the time but could do it on a more consistent basis.  His aggressive nature has been evident in several games that he has played in during his career at Rutgers.  He is also pretty athletic and should be able to handle pass rushers in the NFL.  He gets a good burst coming out of his stance and locks on to the defender and keeps contact with him throughout the block. 

Davis, being a big body guy, has enough momentum once he gets going to take defenders completely out of a play. 

He has a lot of starting experience having started since he was a true freshman. 

When it comes to pass protection, Davis does pretty well in making sure that he handles defenders well and is well aware of what his assignments are in pass protection.  He is able to sense where blitzers are coming from and can pick them up quickly.  He can also stay put well when he has to.  He also sets up quickly and has long arms which enable him to lock on to defenders and move them where he wants them to go.  He can also move laterally keeping his feet moving and mirror opponents very well.  He can also get back and recover when he gets beat. 

When it comes to run blocking Davis is very good here and could be spectacular although opinions vary.  He has the size to keep defenders out of the running lane and gets good leverage and solid knee bend but some think that he isn’t as well adept here as he is as a pass blocker.   He does finish his blocks in the running game and will often maul defenders.   

He may not be the ideal fit at the left tackle position so teams will probably take a look at him as a right tackle or perhaps even at guard.  Since he does have some experience at the guard position he does know how to pull and does well going down the line.  His mechanics are pretty good when pulling as well and he seems to not take a lot of effort to pull. 

There are several things that Davis doesn’t do that well however.  In looking at his pass blocking ability, there are times when he bends at the waist too much allowing for defenders to use double moves to get past him and make the play. 

Davis doesn’t move very well laterally and is slow dropping back at times.  When he isn’t set he can get beat by faster pass rushers and this is a problem.  There are some who feel that Davis isn’t that much of an athlete but due to his enormous size, he isn’t expected to be the kind of athlete that a smaller guy would be.  He also lacks the ideal quickness that you would like to see as a starter at the offensive tackle position.

While at Rutgers, Davis, in order to get a jump on the defender, racked up some false start penalties and doing this in the NFL could punch his ticket to the bench in a hurry.  He has to work on his confidence and technique in order to not have this problem in the NFL. 

Known for his strong run blocking, Davis has had some issue with consistency in a few areas with his run blocking technique.  His footwork needs help as well.  In fact, overall, Davis is not as mobile as many would like to see in a starting offensive tackle so a switch to guard may be in his future.  Mechanically, he doesn’t handle stunts to his outside shoulder that well and it’s critical that offensive tackles handle this well.  This one of the many reasons why he may be switched to guard at some point in his NFL career. 

One big problem that Davis had during his time at Rutgers was disciplinary issue.  He was suspended for the 2008 Morgan State game for a violation of team rules and was suspended for part of their game against Army last season because he was late to a team lunch.  You can also add his coming into 2009 overweight adding to the coach’s frustration with Davis. 

A good offensive tackle will be consistent when they play and Davis isn’t that consistent when it comes to his technique and mechanics.  As the game goes on, Davis will begin to bend at the waist as he gets worn out more and will get a little sloppy. 

Aggression and toughness are two things that Davis seems to lack and will need to improve upon when he lands in the NFL.  Every NFL team likes their offensive tackles aggressive and tough and if Davis can’t do that then he will have a short career in the NFL. 

While at Rutgers, Davis earned the following honors:

2009: Preseason second team All-American by Athlon Sports, named part of the top offensive line in the Big East by Athlon Sports.  Preseason Outland Trophy candidate, preseason first team All Big East by Phil Steele, preseason first team All-Big East by Sporting News College Football Preview, Sporting News best pass blocking tackle in the nation, first team All-Big East by Lindy’s and Athlon Sports and best pass blocker in the Big East by Lindy’s.

2008: All Big East second team by Big East coaches, First Team All-Big East by press, member of the Outland Trophy preseason watch list, preseason first team All-Big East by Phil Steele and Blue Ribbon, preseason second team All-Big East by Athlon Sports.

2007: First team Freshman All American honors by the Football Writers Association of America, the Sporting News and Rivals.com.  Second team All-American by Scout.com, Freshman All-Big East by Rivals.com, third team preseason All-Big East by Phil Steele.

Davis played at Piscataway High School.

Final Word: It’s going to be hard for teams to pass Davis up thanks to his ability and the ever growing need for good offensive linemen but they will have to take the good and the bad and see which one outweighs the other.  There is almost as much upside as there is downside for Davis but if he can overcome his issues, mature and get with the right team, he could have a promising career.  Right now he looks like he could slide a little bit thanks to his faults but someone will fall in love with him and take him a little earlier than perhaps he should go.

Predicted Pick: First round.