The class of wide receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft promises to be a strong one. That’s good news for the New York Giants, who have an understated need at the wide receiver position.
Darius Slayton emerged as a bright spot over the course of the 2019 season, but there have to be questions after Sterling Shepard lost a significant chunk of the seasons due to concussions. We don’t know how much longer Golden Tate (who is over 30 and is in his last year of guaranteed money) will be on the team and much of the Giants’ depth chart is entering free agency.
The Giants not only need a true “number one” receiver, they need rebuild their depth chart at the position as well.
This draft class has highly regarded prospects at the top of the draft board, but what makes it a good year for receivers is the number of good players on the board. Central Florida wide receiver Gabriel Davis has been his school’s best receiver over the last three years, helping them to an undefeated season and overcome the gruesome injury to quarterback McKenzie Milton.
Is he an answer for the Giants?
Prospect: Gabriel Davis, WR, Central Florida
Games Watched: vs. LSU (2018), vs. Pittsburgh (2019), vs. UConn (2019), vs. Cincinnati (2019)
Red Flags: None
Games Played: 34 (34 starts)
Yards: 2447 yards
Receptions (ypc): 152 receptions (16.1 yards per catch)
2019: 72 receptions, 1241 yards (17.2 per catch), 12 touchdowns
Best: Route running, ball skills, competitive toughness
Projection: A starting wide receiver in a West Coast or timing based scheme.
Central Florida receiver Gabriel Davis is an outside receiving prospect with good size and athleticism. Davis is primarily used as an outside receiver and is able to get good releases off the line of scrimmage against both man and zone coverage. He wastes little motion getting into his routes and shows a high football IQ throughout the route itself. He varies his tempo through the route, throwing off defenders’ timing and helping to create separation at the break, as well as doing a good job of pressing stems vertically before breaking sharply. Davis is also adept at drawing defensive pass interference penalties to create hidden yardage for his offense. Davis has a good ability to track the football in the air, adjusting his routes and making body adjustments at the catch point. He is a natural hands catcher who presents a good target for his quarterback and extends to pluck the ball out of the air.
Davis also has value when the play goes elsewhere, showing good hustle and competitive toughness as a blocker. He has good technique, working to gain inside leverage and play with good pad level. He is also a very willing blocker who consistently runs to get into position ahead of his teammates.
Davis lacks truly explosive athleticism. He doesn’t appear to have a true “second gear” running in the open field and can be brought down from behind. He also lacks a sudden burst out of his breaks and can be disrupted by physical play from defensive backs. Davis can also suffer from concentration drops and occasionally gets his hands crossed and not make the catch cleanly.
Overall Grade: 5.9 - An above-average prospect with several traits you can win with and few true drawbacks. A good value late on the second day of the draft. [Grading Scale]
Gabriel Davis has the potential to become a starting receiver in the NFL fairly early in his career. He has the frame and technical savvy to play on the line of scrimmage as well as off as a Flanker, and win against both man and zone coverages. Davis doesn’t have the elite athleticism to be a true vertical threat and while he can pick up yards after the catch, he shouldn’t be depended on to do so regularly. Davis would be best in a scheme which takes advantage of his polished route running, such as one based on West Coast or Erhardt-Perkins concepts. He has a relatively high floor as a dependable possession receiver in most schemes.