Texas Football: Can Mike Davis Reclaim the Spotlight at the NFL Combine?

Taylor GasparFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2014

Texas' Mike Davis (1) makes a catch between West Virginia's Daryl Worley (7) and Travis Bell (26) during the fourth quarter of their NCAA college football game in Morgantown, W.Va., on Saturday, Nov.9, 2013. Texas won 47-40 in overtime. (AP Photo/Christopher Jackson)
Chris Jackson/Associated Press

Texas wide receiver Mike Davis had an up-and-down career as a Longhorn, but his time at Texas has come to an end, and his focus is now on the NFL draft. 

Davis was a highly touted prospect coming out of Dallas Skyline High School and proved he could live up to the hype in his first season as a Longhorn. He set a Texas freshman record with his 47 receptions for 478 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games.

The momentum from his freshman season came to a halt midway through his sophomore year. Davis had a season-total 45 receptions for 609 yards and one touchdown but only scooped up 20 catches for 145 yards in the final seven games of the 2011 season.

The 2012 season was his best, grabbing a career-high 57 catches for 939 yards and seven touchdowns. Davis contemplated leaving Texas following his junior season but decided against it and returned to Austin for his senior year. 

The Texas offensive game plan shifted to a run-heavy attack after quarterback David Ash was sidelined with a concussion in Week 2 of the season. The scheme change ultimately took away a lot of opportunity for Davis to excel as a wide receiver. He posted 51 catches for 727 yards and eight touchdowns in his final season as a Longhorn.

Mike Davis' Career Stats at Texas

In hindsight, the decision to return for his senior season may not have worked in his favor, but he had zero regrets, according to Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News.

"I wanted to go out with a bang," Davis told Carlton. "Unfortunately, some of the stuff we weren't able to do. I've enjoyed the fight in this team and the way we bounced back."

With his college career behind him, he will have the opportunity to show off his skills in the 2014 NFL combine.

Davis has received mixed reviews leading up to the NFL combine. He was recently listed as one of the most controversial draft picks by NFL Media draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki, has impressed DallasCowboys.com football analyst/scout Bryan Broaddus and has caught the attention of the Jacksonville Jaguars.


Nolan Nawrocki's review:

Inadequate on-field body language and temperament -- is usually at the back of the line in practice drills and does not exhibit urgency in his play or leadership in the locker room. ... Displays starter-caliber physical traits, yet his playing demeanor and approach turn off many evaluators and could force his draft status to sink. -- Nolan Nawrocki, NFL.com.


Bryan Broaddus' review:

I have to say that I really didn't have a great feel for Texas receiver Mike Davis before I traveled to Mobile, but there were times over the last three days where I thought he flashed some nice things.

His routes looked smooth, and against the press, he showed some quickness to release off the jam. Davis caught the ball well, didn't look like he was fighting it or double catching any of the balls thrown his way. The biggest surprise about his game was the willingness and toughness that he showed as a blocker. In the one-on-one work with the defensive backs, he was outstanding. It didn't matter who he was facing -- he stepped up and took on the challenge. -- Football Analyst/Scout Bryan Broaddus.


Jacksonville Jaguars review, according to Chase Goodbread of NFL.com:

The jury appears to be out on Davis based on the various reviews of his talent, but a superb NFL combine and pro day showing could change the minds of his critics.

Mike Davis' Strengths and Weaknesses
Long Arms/Big HandsLeggy, tight, more of a straight-line athlete
Good Vertical SpeedBody stiffness
Acceleration to gain a step and beat defenses deepTakes a few steps to get up to full speed when fighting off contact and after gearing down
Quick off the line of scrimmageNeeds to develop route tree and prove to be more proficient on more than just vertical patterns
Uses hesitation in his routes to get behind secondaryStruggles to deceive defenders on non-go routes
Tracks deep ball well and locates quickly to finish over his shoulderNot the most natural hands catcher
Large catching radiusWill have his share of drops
Uses length to extend and pluck the ball away from his frameAverage after the catch
Natural body controlLacks shifty moves or change of direction to make defenders miss
Easy acceleration in routesAlligator arms in traffic
Shown steady improvement in his patternsNeeds to play without fear
Uses extension well as a perimeter blocker and very competitive in this areaQuestionable mental toughness and appears to get down on himself easily
Consistent production in his four years at TexasSense of entitlement with concerns that he will never be a grinder to reach his full potential

Davis is a talented athlete who managed to bring in 200 catches, 2,753 yards and 18 touchdowns, even though the Longhorns lacked a solid quarterback option during his four years on the 40 acres.

He may not be the tallest or fastest player on the field, but he is a talented route-runner and adds an extra layer of talent with his ability to be a returner on special teams. 

Davis is currently rated No. 18 of 429 wide receivers and projected as a third- or fourth-round pick by NFL Draft Scout. A standout performance at the NFL combine and pro day could very likely up his draft stock and open the eyes of NFL scouts and analysts, just as his Senior Bowl performance did in January.


Taylor Gaspar is Bleacher Report's lead writer covering the Texas Longhorns. Follow Taylor on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar.