As the premier debutante from day one of the Combine, it's understandable if Anthony Davis was a little nervous. That's a rule of thumb on job interviews, and he has millions of dollars at stake in the coming days. There's reason to be apprehensive, when the press is on hand to scrutinize your every move. Rutgers alumnus Greg Bedard from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel understandably may still be a little peeved at Davis for his inconsistency last season.
Rutgers OT Anthony Davis, in his podium stint, came across as quiet, passive. not very confident. Kind of how he plays. IMO, buyer beware.
If you're going to scrutinize his play, that's one thing. It's more than a little excessive to draw that kind of inference from a couple minutes at a podium though (watch for yourself). Anthony, and other prospects, already had to endure extensively medical screenings. It's a pressure-filled environment as is, and it's just not fair to draw any kind of inference from that small of a time period. Would it have been better if Anthony had acted like a self-centered jerk? Wasn't it only a year ago that Kenny Britt was being beat up for supposedly being cocky? Doesn't Ray Rice have a reputation for being an introvert? This stuff isn't just coming from Bedard either.
Now, on to issues of actual substance. Davis officially measured in at 6'5, 323 lbs, with 34' arms (that number is very important for the tackle position). Apparently the questioners in attendance were solely concerned with his weight. He came to school at 360+, and now weighs...about what he did last year. The topic seems, you know, kind of overblown in a world where Alabama NT Terrence Cody weighed in at 370 lbs at last month's Senior Bowl.
I don't know what goes on beyond closed doors, but as someone who's been watching Davis play for three years, the weight has never been a concern in that period, even when he was briefly demoted in last year's training camp (the assumption was that he'd just get his job back in a couple days, which is...exactly what ended up happening). From what I can gather, most if not all of the Rutgers football online community is of a similar mindset there.
You can bet that Davis will be grilled in team interviews over the coming days.
"I'm ready to answer any questions they have for me, about the suspension, about anything," Davis said. "I'll be honest and let them know I learned from my mistakes."
The high profile action comes Saturday, where all of his training (couple more details here) will finally come to use with a battery of workouts and drills. Bruce Campbell is the OT prospect currently generating the most workout buzz, but Davis should hold his own in that department. As for the interviews, they're always good for a curveball or two. LSU's Ciron Black sheds some light on what, in particular, an OT will get grilled about.
"Coaches are asking you all the time, like last night they were asking me, ‘Draw up an offensive play, draw up a protection you’ve done in the past.' They want to know how much you know on the offensive line, not just your position. If you can make Mike calls, stuff like that. It's usually about what you know. Of course you’ve got the ability, of course you’ve got to be able to do it, but you have to know when the blitzes are coming and how to pick them up."
It's not to imply that A.D. is going to get singled out. The spotlight shines brightly on all prospects in attendance. Even in the worst case scenario, George Young's infamous planet theory still holds, and NFL franchises are going to find a gifted lineman nearly impossible to resist. No matter what anyone says, you'd much rather bee Davis today, and have a real chance of going in the top five or ten, then one of those quarterbacks like Tim Tebow or Colt McCoy. It'd be a mistake to even really say that either is plummeting down draft boards, because that implies that they were in good standing with regards to the NFL to begin with, which probably wasn't ever the case. If you look at it like that, A.D., or an upwardly mobile Devin McCourty are in enviable situations as the Combine kicks into high gear over the coming days.
As a final note, Bedard's colleague Bob McGinn usually has some of the best draft information out there, and here's his first free column about the offensive line class.
Compared by one scout to the Vikings' Bryant McKinnie, Davis enrolled at Rutgers in 2007 weighing 366. Besides weight, Davis has character issues that worry some teams.
"He's got skeletons you've got to worry about," one scout said. "Little bit of everything. Just a massive guy. Doesn't have great feet to play in space."
FWIW, I think that final sentence is 100% inaccurate, and that's crystal clear from watching his sophomore film. The sentiment is out there to some extent though, which doesn't necessarily mean anything about its truth or not. Some scouts probably made those judgments solely off his 2009 film, while I and others remember how he was the year before, and cite other factors. It's impossible to say how representative those viewpoints are. In that same article, a scout poll indicates that A.D. will probably be the second lineman selected in April.
McGinn typically releases some more extensive information breakdowns, which are not publicly available online. My plan is to go to the local library this weekend and fire up Lexis to see if there's anything on his Wonderlic score (which presumably would be from last year's pro day), or anything else.
Update: the Post has the other take on Davis, which also praises his maturity later in the article.
While none of that was outrageous, particularly in light of his exceptionally quick feet and massive upper-body strength, it is enough to prompt some red flags among scouts and potentially hurt Davis' draft position.
"He takes a few too many plays off," an AFC general manager told The Post. "You've got to be a little worried about the inconsistency, but the kid's only 20. There's an awful lot to like."