Draft Spotlight: Anthony Davis
It is inevitable that the 49ers will draft someone to play the right tackle position this year. Who that maybe is still up in the air, but if the draft board falls like it should (which never happens) than the tackle most likely available for the 49ers is Rutgers tackle Anthony Davis.
Davis has visited and worked out for the 49ers, not that that means anything, but it does show that the 49ers wanted to take a closer look. So if tackles like Williams, Okung, and Bulaga are off the board, which is most likely. The 49ers will take a hard long look at Davis.
Davis is a prototypical left tackle in that he is a good foot athlete and has bulk as well as long arms that allow him to get a fit and control opponents as he steers them on by the pocket. He is not a natural knee bender and will let his pads get too far forward as he extends to sustain his blocks. He can slide and shuffle with an edge rusher and has the body control and foot agility to react and adjust to counter moves. He has shown a tendency to gain too much weight and will need to be monitored. He has strong hands and upper body and can swallow opponents up on the run block but does not finish his blocks off as much as he could. He will need some time to develop but could end up as a starting left tackle in a couple of years.
Pass blocking: Hard to beat on the corner from a two-point stance, using a strong upper body to engulf smaller defensive ends. Prototypical kick-slide. Very strong anchor. Adjusts to twists and late blitzes off the edge. Could use a bit more knee bend and maintain better posture, as he will bend from the waist and lunge. Recovery speed is questionable; struggles to get his weight moving back toward the line once out of kick-slide. Has a strong armbar, though, that buys a bit more time when he’s beaten.
Run blocking: Strong initial punch; very difficult to push him back off the line. Has the strength and footwork to seal the edge and turn his man out of the hole. Inconsistent keeping his feet moving after initial pop; can dominate his man when he does but often relies too much on his punch to stop the defender.
Pulling/trapping: Displays the quick feet and body control to excel when pulling and trapping, often pushing his guard out of the way when both are on the move. Flexible and agile enough to hit his target and strong enough sustain. Usually just takes out the man in front of him, and may have trouble adjusting to playing coming from inside.
Initial Quickness: Good, not great, off the snap, but makes up for it with a strong initial pop as a pass protector and run blocker. When his target is in sight, he gets to him quickly and usually wins the battle.
Downfield: Gets to linebackers well, knowing his angle and physically dominating most players once engaged. Will bend at the waist at times, allowing better defenders to shed him to make a play as the ballcarrier goes by. Likes to be part of or clean up piles downfield. Usually follows a play downfield to help, but doesn’t always hit a target.
Intangibles: Davis’ competitive fire and effort have not been as consistent as you’d like for a top prospect. Suspended one game for violating team rules in 2008. Benched for a quarter (but had to report earlier due to injury) against Army in October 2009 because he missed a team meeting. Has had issues maintaining weight, even being demoted to second team before his senior year for reporting overweight. Came to Rutgers as a 363-pound freshman.
NFL Comparison: Chris Williams, Bears
Davis has the outstanding combination of size and athleticism necessary to play left tackle at the next level. Displays impressive strength eating up opponents off the ball. Excels in pass protection utilizing his long arms to effectively react and adjust while protecting the blindside. Displays really nice hand use.
Lacks great initial quickness when exploding out of his stance in the running game. Davis is not a natural knee bender. Would like to see him finish strong on a more consistent basis. His self discipline is questionable after he struggled with weight issues in college.