The NFL season has been finished for merely a week now and with our perpetual football void that just can’t be filled by the NBA or NFL, it’s time to fire up the ol’ draft rumor, profile, and speculation mill. The 5-11 Chicago Bears offseason has droned on for weeks now and the mill only rocks harder every day. There have been plenty of whispers about Calvin Ridley or Quenton Nelson finding a Bears jersey at the eighth pick (unless they trade down) and while that’s all fine and dandy, drafts are never won in the first round. The middle rounds are often where seasons are made and with a deep cornerback class this draft, everything looks to work in the Bears favor.
Considering Kyle Fuller’s comeback year makes the cornerback situation slightly more stable and marginally less pressing than the wide receiver issue, the second and third rounds should be where Ryan Pace turns his sails in order to address the secondary. So fellow Bears fans, I turn your attention to the cornerback out of Auburn, Carlton Davis.
Davis, arguably the most physical defender in the draft class, has an uncanny tackle ability on the same plane as most linebackers. It sometimes unbelievable how he can blow up plays. His acceleration is breathtaking and he is able to make open field tackles look easy. Watch how quickly he explodes into the backfield and stuffs Ole Miss’s screen attempt.
For those playing at home, this is not an easy play to make at all, unlike how he makes it look. The way Davis is able to square his hips, take aim and torpedo shoot through an offensive player is a work of art. With the rise of the dreaded spread offenses in the league, his open field tackle ability is worth its weight in gold. Uptempo RPO offenses have been slowly popping up in the league during the past few seasons and a corner who is this adept at stopping them is invaluable.
On top of being six foot one with 190 pounds of tackling prestige behind him, his shutdown corner skills are exactly what the Bears need. He can be brutal in coverage at times, physically dominating smaller receivers and will be able to keep up with big receivers. Paired with his strong ball skills, the shutdown corner traits are there. Watch how he is able to completely erase the Miss State receiver.
A simple slant route is always meant to be an easy catch but Davis’ physicality forces the incompletion. His bullish coverage allows for him to line up against anyone in man coverage and be able to hold his own. Without a shutdown corner on the roster, allowing Vic Fangio to get his hands on someone with Davis’s skill set could pay off massively in the future.
But alas, like all college prospects, he does not come without his fair share of weaknesses. His inconsistency raises a few red flags while improving seems to come difficult for him. After an encouraging freshman year, he hasn’t grown all that much as a player, asking the question how high can his ceiling be. In addition to that, he has run into the law with possession of marijuana, which could bring up minor or serious character issues depending on how you look at marijuana possession as a crime.
All in all, Davis comes with a high floor but a very cloudy ceiling. He could very well be the next Josh Norman, sharing the same physicality and pithy coverage style but his lack of development in college may translate to the NFL and he’s never able to achieve his full potential. Either way, if he is available come second round, he is worth taking a swing on.