A productive career for the Texas Longhorns has wide receiver Mike Davis primed to have a shot at the NFL and being picked in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Projected as a seventh-round pick, the 6'0, 197-pounder solidified his place in the Texas record books as a consistent threat over the last four seasons. He sits fourth on the all-time list in receptions (200), fourth in receiving yards (2,753), and fifth in career touchdowns (18).
After deciding to to enter the 2013 NFL Draft and then reversing course early last year, Davis turned in a strong senior season, leading the team in receiving yards with 727 and touchdowns with eight. No other Texas receiver had more than two touchdown catches.
Following an impressive performance at the 2010 Under Armour All-American game, Davis was rated as the No. 2 receiver nationally and the No. 13 player overall by ESPN. Originally committed to LSU, Davis ended up at Texas after reaching out to the coaching staff late in the process and informing them of his interest. In a wide receiver class that also included Darius Terrell, John Harris, and Chris Jones, Davis was the only one who found any success in Austin.
In high school, Davis was remarkably adept at getting open deep, including two monster performances against DeSoto and 2010 Texas cornerback signee Adrian White. The ability translated to college, where Davis was the favored deep target of David Ash and Case McCoy over the last several years, particularly on the post route with Ash and the go route down the sideline with McCoy.
After running a 4.50 40 at the Texas Pro Day, Davis showed that he does have some legitimate deep speed that should translate to the NFL. Entering that day, there had been question marks about his pure speed and whether he often beat opposing defensive backs deep because of some other element of deceptiveness, a belief that found no challenge after the NFL combine because Davis didn't run with a leg injury.
At times, he showed the ability to go up and high-point the football, catching the ball outside the framework of his body, as he did on the huge catch against Oklahoma State in 2012. At other times, Davis was inconsistent, dropping easy catches and then in turn getting down on himself. He admitted in 2012 that he did have issues with his focus and confidence and improved in that regard over his last two seasons, but still had too many plays like the drop on the long pass from Tyrone Swoopes in the Alamo Bowl against Oregon.
The 4.39 shuttle time for Davis at the Texas Pro Day was not an especially impressive number, so agility is not one of his strengths. Used early and often during his career on screen passes under former offensive coordinator Greg Davis, the Dallas Skyline product never evidenced a great deal of tackle-breaking ability in burnt orange.
As he makes the leap the next level, Davis will have to work on developing his route-running ability and show more consistency with his hands, though he did draw some praise at the Senior Bowl for his work running routes.
During the course of his time at Texas, he became a much more interested and effective blocker, beginning with the 2012 season and continuing last fall, when the downfield blocking by the wide receivers was an important element in a Texas run offense that carried the team through the first part of the conference season.
To make an NFL roster and become a contributor, Davis will have to become more consistent with his hands than he was at Texas, but if he can translate his ability to get open deep to the next level, he has a chance to be an impactful player in the league.