The Bills have made a flurry of moves over the last few weeks by adding depth to the Cornerback position and Safety positions. Corey White and Sterling Moore both bring different styles of play to the Bills secondary. I believe that Safety Robert Blanton will push Corey Graham for the starting Safety position. The problem with the moves made by Doug Whaley is that those are short term fixes. Each of those players are on one year deals, so the Bills will continue to look towards the draft for not only depth but for players that will be on the team beyond 2016.
A player that has been getting a lot of buzz lately is Maryland’s Sean Davis. Davis is 6’1″, 201 pounds so he has prototypical size for a defensive back. The intriguing thing about this prospect is his ability to play several positions.
Something that Rex Ryan loves in his defensive backs. The scheme often asks corners to roll up and for safeties to drop down into the slot in base defense. This is why Davis is becoming a hot commodity, he has been coined as a versatile defender. Davis started at Safety his first three years at Maryland, but then transitioned to Cornerback his final season. In my opinion he looks like a safety, and here’s why.
Davis (#21) does have the size and the speed (4.46 forty yard dash) to play corner but he struggles in areas where good cover corners excel. Such as body control, when the ball is in the air the corner must be able to control his body all while tracking the ball. Davis had many plays where he struggled tracking the ball and keeping his body under control while staying in the receivers hip pocket. In this game against Bowling Green, he had his worst game of the year. Davis is in the slot to the bottom of the screen. He was targeted 11 times, allowed 7 receptions for 139 yards and 3 touchdowns.
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A coverage that the Bills use frequently is pattern matching, Davis seemed to struggle recognizing simultaneous vertical releases from a stacked formation. Stacking WRs is a common tactic used by coordinators versus pattern read coverages.
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He has the ability to turn and run, the ability to get to top speed but his short area quickness isn’t ideal for a cover corner. That’s why he is being touted as a better zone corner than man corner. Here he gets dusted on a speed slant. He allowed 4 TDs in 2015.
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Most of the time in 2015, Davis was lined up as a boundary corner in off, zone coverage. The Terps did this because he has some stiffness in his hips, so putting him in press man coverage consistently was out of the question. He had 6 pass defenses in 2015, here he is in off coverage and drives to the ball really well.
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— NFL Draft Bible (@NFLDraftBible) March 30, 2016
Davis doesn’t have issues running with receivers. Once he is out of his backpedal and his hips are opened he can stay with anyone.
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I think that if you put him in center field he will be so much more effective. If you were a fan of Rambo, you will probably like this guy. He has the range, tackling and hitting ability to make a difference. Check out this forced fumble from 2015. He led the nation in forced fumbles with five.
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His range and experience at the safety position are what teams like in Davis. Imagine this kid mentored by Ed Reed, he could be a force.
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Davis lives to fill versus the run game. He attacks downhill and delivers blows. He finished 2015 with 81 tackles from the corner position. He was also able to create 9 run disruptions.
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He throws his whole body at the offensive player when he hits.
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He did miss 10 tackles in 2015, on this play he plants, drives and the slippery WR eludes the tackle.
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Sean Davis will probably be converted back to Safety in the NFL. Teams will look at him as a Free Safety because of his range, ability to deliver hits and run support capabilities. The Bills need to add a defender that strikes the fear in receivers or tight ends coming across the middle. Although I like West Virginia’s Karl Joseph or Florida’s Keanu Neal a lot more in that department, Davis offers some of those same traits but with cover skills that fit the Bills’ scheme. In my opinion Davis is a third or fourth round pick, is that where he will be drafted? It’s hard to say, I could see a zone coverage team pulling the trigger in round 2 if they want to put him at Corner. Davis may still go too early for the Bills seeing as how they signed Robert Blanton and the ability of Sterling Moore to even play Safety IF needed. The need for a Safety in the early to mid rounds has lessened.
I believe that 2016 will be Corey Graham’s last year as a Bill, we still don’t know how Aaron Williams will respond to contact and Blanton is only a one year deal. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bills pick a safety like Davis. A rangy center fielder that can lay the lumber, but also has the cover skills of a corner. As difficult as this scheme is, the Bills would be smart to draft a safety to groom. Someone like Davis, a guy that can play in certain packages and who is also a great special teamer. He is a player with a ton of upside and would certainly fit into the scheme.