In a deep safety class, a prospect needs to have some quality that sets him apart from the rest. Cody Davis may not be a name that has come up much during the draft process, but he has the size and mental makeup that will force teams to notice him.
He led an underrated Texas Tech defense who had one of the best pass defenses in the country, allowing only 192 yards per game through the air.
+ Tall with a solid frame, strong for a safety
+ Team captain, student of the game
+ Physical, presses and tackles well
+ Could convert to outside linebacker
- Isn't quick and fluid enough on tape
- Won't be much of a playmaker
- Lacks killer instinct
- Has to fit in the right system
Davis is a physically imposing safety. He stands at about 6'2" and weighs in around 203 lbs., and he is well-built and has filled out his taller frame. That's not to say he won't benefit from spending time in an NFL weight room, but he already has to the body to play immediately.
At his pro day at Texas Tech, Davis put up some rather shockingly impressive totals. He ran a 4.41 40-yard dash and had a 41.5-inch vertical, which would have been better than any defensive back at the combine (Davis was not invited to the combine).
Davis really has some impressive traits that will make NFL organizations happy. In 2012, he was a finalist for the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award and was also named to the Capital One Academic-America First Team. He maintained a 3.7 GPA as an undergraduate student and a 4.0 GPA as a graduate student.
To continue his impressive 2012, he was honored as Coaches' Selection Second-Team All-Big 12 Conference. He also served as a team captain for the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech played a 4-3 defense under Art Kaufman, with a two-deep zone for safeties on the majority of plays. There were times when Davis stepped up in the box on probable run plays, but Texas Tech's defense was noted for its simplicity and lack of blitzes and disguising coverage.
Davis played a lot of zone coverage, and he often could get lost when the offense used any type of misdirection. Notice the play-action in this video against West Virginia. Davis bites badly and allows the receiver to fly past him
He didn't often take on man-to-man responsibility and is relatively inexperienced as a result. But his physicality leads me to believe that he could be good in press man coverage against a slot receiver or tight end.
His quickness and athleticism that was displayed at his pro day doesn't really translate onto the playing field, as he can get tripped up and beaten by quick receivers. He is at his best when he's given freedom to roam deep, where short-space quickness isn't a factor.
Against the Run
Davis displays a lot of promise when playing against the run. He occasionally gets pushed up almost as a fourth linebacker and is skilled at diagnosing the play quickly and attacking with the right angle.
He tracks down well and fights through blocks to get the ball-carrier. He can occasionally overrun the play and get beaten upfield, but his discipline is usually adequate.
Davis is a very strong tackler but is not really so much a hard hitter. He won't shy away from contact ever, but he rarely lowers his shoulder and lays out an opponent. He instead usually looks to wrap up with good form and drag the ball-carrier to the ground.
Potential NFL Role
Any team would love to have a guy like Davis, although not as an every-down starter. But he could fill in adequately at strong safety or even outside linebacker. He also has the potential to by a phenomenal special teams player in the NFL.
Fifth or sixth round