Austin Davis: 6 Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of 2012 NFL Draft Prospect

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IApril 23, 2012

Austin Davis: 6 Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of 2012 NFL Draft Prospect

0 of 6

    Austin Davis is one of the most intriguing prospects in this year's NFL Draft Class.

    So much of the pre-draft chatter focuses on the top-ranked quarterback prospects entering the NFL. It's a little surprising then that while Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have (rightfully) been receiving most of the hype surrounding the quarterback position, we have not heard a lot about Davis, who was an absolute stud during his four-year career at Southern Miss.

    After passing for more than 10,000 yards and 83 touchdowns, it is hard not to be impressed with this kid.

    So what will Davis have to work on in order to be a successful NFL quarterback in the near future?

    Let's break down six strengths and weaknesses of Austin Davis' game!

STRENGTH: Playing Experience

1 of 6

    As good as guys like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Ryan Tannehill were last season, it's tough to find a quarterback in this year's draft who has had a more productive career than Southern Miss standout Austin Davis.

    In fact, it's impossible.

    Davis was a four-year starter for Southern Miss. As mentioned in the previous slide, he passed for more than 10,000 yards and 83 touchdowns compared to just 27 interceptions during his time at the helm. He also completed 63 percent of his passes in his career, which is beyond impressive as well.

    Davis may not have played against the best competition, but you simply can't look past those numbers.

WEAKNESS: Arm Strength

2 of 6

    Austin Davis was a fantastic college quarterback, excelling in the passing game with his pin-point accuracy on short and intermediate passes.

    But where Davis struggled at times was with the deep ball.

    He does not have ideal arm strength for the NFL, something he will really have to develop if he hopes to one day be a starter at the next level. He shouldn't have a problem hitting those short slant passes over the middle, but it's the 15-20 yard outs and the deep posts that will give him trouble.

    It's possible to get by without a strong arm, but certainly not easy.

STRENGTH: Good Pocket Presence

3 of 6

    It's not often that you expect a rookie quarterback to have elite-level pocket presence, but that looks like the case with Austin Davis.

    The former Southern Miss standout doesn't seem to falter under pressure, using his scrambling ability and quick thinking to elude the pass rush. NFL scouts have praised Davis for his ability to hit his second or third reads, which is a credit to him keeping his cool in the pocket.

    Davis is a good enough athlete that he can escape pressure and tall enough to see over bigger defenders when they are in his face.

    That right there gives this kid a chance to make it.

WEAKNESS: Shotgun Quarterback

4 of 6

    Playing at Southern Miss, Austin Davis worked exclusively out of the shotgun in his team's pass-first offense.

    If Davis is going to make it in the NFL, he will have to adjust to the idea of playing under center, which isn't as easy as it may sound.

    Davis was great in his system in college, but that doesn't mean he will adapt as well to a new system in the NFL. At the pro level, there are many more formations, plays and reads at work.

    Unless he plans to take over for Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, this kid is going to have to learn how to adapt to taking snaps under center in the near future.

STRENGTH: He's a Winner

5 of 6

    Perhaps the most important trait at the quarterback position is the ability to manage and win football games.

    Austin Davis has plenty of experience doing just that.

    Davis started 45 career games at Southern Miss, where he posted a 30-15 record, including a Conference USA championship and two separate Bowl victories.

    Last year's 49-28 blowout victory over then-undefeated Houston was one of the most memorable college football performances of the season. Davis passed for 279 yards and four touchdowns while outplaying Heisman trophy hopeful Case Keenum and leading Southern Miss to a memorable 49-28 win.

    This kid can flat-out win.

WEAKNESS: Lack of Compeition

6 of 6

    It's tough to find many weaknesses in a guy who has passed for more than 10,000 yards and accumulated 30 wins as a starter, but the truth is that Davis didn't exactly go up against the toughest of competition playing in Conference USA.

    Southern Miss' most challenging opponent last season was Houston, who also played an extremely weak schedule. In fact, over the past two seasons, Davis' biggest challenge probably came in Southern Miss' 2010 opener against South Carolina, in which they lost 41-13.

    It will be tough for Davis when he gets to the NFL and realizes that he's not playing against the Tulanes and East Carolinas of the football world anymore.