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And so it begins

From Pro Football Weekly:

Davis has the mass, base strength, athletic ability and feet to play on the left side in the NFL. And he knows it, which has been one of his biggest problems in college and is expected to be in the pros. The immature 20-year-old has been suspended for violating team rules and allowing his weight to fluctuate too much, to the point where he was temporarily demoted during training camp prior to this season. Despite possessing natural talent, Davis' character is suspect and could knock him off many draft boards. He is expected to declare for the draft following the season but will come with a "buyer beware" tag.

On one hand, the innuendo and rumors about NFL draft prospects can go too far at times. It's a mistake to read too much into his suspension last year, or a one week demotion during fall camp in August for being 10 lbs overweight. Rutgers runs a zone scheme; at other schools he'd be downright slender.

However, Davis's play has noticeably slipped this year, and I'm not just saying that because everyone's expectations of him are so high. Yes, Rutgers fans want him to play like Orlando Pace in his prime on every snap, and that is unfair. At points this year I think he has dogged it though. That's why I singled him out for criticism at points, even though he's far and away the team's best lineman.

Compare and contrast A.D. to Kenny Britt last year; Britt was dominant in all facets, and in fact, clearly looked like a NFL player as a sophomore. I screamed bloody murder when critics who probably weren't even watching the games were knocking Britt, as he was the offense's only weapon in September and October, and was still dominating despite defenses focusing all of their attention on him. With Davis, that top level dominance to match his raw attributes isn't there. He's still a work in progress.

When looking at this question though, you have to be objective and take off your Ray Rice jersey for a minute. Davis is a freakish athlete. 40-yard dash times don't matter one iota for offensive tackles (although they may correlate with doing well in other athletic drills), but actually the thing PFW said that I take the most issue with is his estimated 40 time. Davis has nimble feet, and moves downfield like a monster, and that's what NFL evaluators look at. They want traits that project to the next level, and they project based on how they see a prospect developing as a pro, not necessarily with how they performed in college.

Anthony declaring for the draft the moment this year's bowl game ends isn't exactly a well-kept secret. It was probably a foregone conclusion as soon as his film went out to every school in the country. I don't begrudge him for his choice; he has a right to earn a living and support his family. I appreciate the fact that he decided to stay home and prove that elite prospects could attend Rutgers. Still, I can't help but wonder whether or not his draft stock would be much higher if he did come back and have a strong senior season protecting Tom Savage's blind side.

Maybe he'll get a bad projection from the NFL, but he's probably gone regardless. A record number of juniors are expected to declare this year, again. There's always, always, always a run on linemen in every draft, and he blows the door off recent selections like Duane Brown or Sam Baker. In the end, I don't know if any of those other tackle prospects are as good as Anthony, and that's reason enough to declare. If he wants it, he can be the best out there. At least with the next two games televised, he'll have the requisite stage to prove his case.