Even an inconsistent senior season and an injury that held ex-Arkansas Razorbacks RB Knile Davis out for all of his junior season didn't dissuade the Kansas City Chiefs from using a third-round pick (No. 96 overall) on him in the 2013 NFL draft on Friday.
That perceived risk will be rewarded in a big way by the powerful running back, who will serve as the perfect complement to electric, speedy running back Jamaal Charles.
Back in 2010, Davis led the Southeastern Conference with 1,322 yards on 6.5 yards per carry, scoring 13 touchdowns. Unfortunately, a left ankle injury suffered in practice prior to the start of the following season kept Davis sidelined for the entire year.
Arkansas most recently suffered through a tumultuous campaign, with a lackluster offensive line and a 4-8 record to ultimately show for it. The combination of those circumstances with Davis' rust caused him to average just 3.4 yards per pop.
However, an extremely strong performance at the NFL Scouting Combine showed that Davis still has the burst, talent and skill to be a star.
Davis ran a 4.37 40-yard dash and also put up 31 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press. Such numbers are an indication of the size and speed combination that he brings to Kansas City.
As reported by AL.com's Andrew Gribble even before that stunning display, Davis didn't shy away from mentioning himself among the best NFL backs even at this juncture:
I think the thing that sets me apart is the size, speed, agility combination...I think that is a rare combination that you just don't find every year. The guy I really compare myself would be more of an Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson. Arian Foster with the zone running. I'm really good at running the zone and just the size and speed of Adrian Peterson.
Peyton Hillis was meant to be the big bruiser to serve as a change of pace to Charles, but he was a disappointment in 2012 and is no longer on the roster. That opens up an instant opportunity for Davis to contribute.
With a 5'10" and a thick 227-pound frame, there is no question that Davis has the build to be even a workhorse back at the next level. The beauty of it is, though, there won't be the pressure to do that.
Matt Williamson @WilliamsonNFL
Knile Davis does have some similarities to Bryce Brown4/27/2013, 2:29:13 AM
It's ironic those two are mentioned in the same sentence, because Brown thrived for the Chiefs' new head coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia last season.
Such an analogy has its positives and critiques, though. There is no denying the talent either player has, but Davis, like Brown, struggles with ball security. On just 123 touches in 2012, Davis put it on the ground eight times (per ESPN, subscription required).
Charles came off a torn ACL to run for over 1,500 yards in 2012, despite a horrendous passing game. Such strong form indicates that Charles is back to 100 percent, but his workload doesn't have to be quite as heavy with Davis in the fold.
As long as Davis can sharpen his fundamentals, take better care of the ball and continue to show promise as a receiver out of the backfield, he should fit well into Reid's offense.