I've just watched the tape from last night's hammering of USF by Rutgers. I kept an eye on Anthony Davis (OT, Rutgers) a guy I hadn't had a chance to concentrate on yet. He's a junior prospect playing on a young, upcoming Scarlet Knight's team so there's every chance he'll stay for his senior year. He's got ideal size (6'6", 320lbs) and nice body definition. A bit of research painted a different picture however - apparently he's struggled with weight issues in the past, arriving as a freshman at a massive 363lbs. He was even sent to work with the second team at the start of pre-season this year for struggling to get to his target weight. Are those days in the past?
On film at least, he looks trim enough and every bit a NFL lineman. He could probably enter the NFL now and not be any worse than he would be with an extra year's seasoning, but he has to convince teams he can manage his weight to justify any kind of high pick. So with that in mind, how did he perform last night and is he a good fit for the Seattle Seahawks?
In a word, no. With Mike Solari coaching the offensive line, Seattle has very publicly incorporated a zone blocking scheme. One of the reasons I never thought the team would draft Eugene Monroe was that I felt he wasn't a good enough fit for this system. Davis reminded me of the same complaints I had with regard to Monroe.
He's ideally suited to a man blocking scheme. He never blocked off once, simply locking on to an opponent and blocking that man until the play was dead. No desire to get to the second level was ever witnessed and he never showed a nasty streak to blow his guy out of the way and instantly find someone else to block. One of the things I love about Charles Brown (OT, USC) is that he diagnoses plays so well, he knows when to block off and when to progress and tackle a linebacker. He's fight his man down and drive through his blocks. I saw none of that from Davis.
But (similar to Eugene Monroe) what Davis does, he does well. He was practically unbeatable in one-on-one combat. He did a good job dealing with two of the better pass rushers in college football - Jason Pierre-Paul and George Selvie. There will be teams who deploy man scheme who will find great value in a guy who blocks his man very well and keeps the blind side quiet. Other teams, like the Seahawks, will look elsewhere. Davis is neither agile nor flexible enough to adequately fill the teams needs in a ZBS, but he could easily become a top first round pick for somebody else if the weight problems are no more.
As an aside, I was again very impressed with the afore-mentioned Pierre-Paul. He's raw, but with massive potential. He could stand to get a bit stouter against the run and probably get a bit more upper body bulk. But he has a long wing span and in the two games I've seen him, he's actually tipped about four passes just throwing those long arms out there and getting something on the ball. Pierre-Paul owns a great spin move and he effortlessly glides into the backfield, showing tremendous speed and agility. He should be a first round pick.