Whether you’re the calamari type or the chicken finger type, you know that before indulging in a nice dinner out, an appetizer is a perfect way to start your taste bud engines.
As good as your hors d'œuvre of choice may be, you know that the best food of the night is yet to come.
The purpose of an appetizer is not to satisfy your hunger. Rather, it’s more meant to tease your hunger, annoy it, poke it, and make it angrier (hungrier) than it was already.
(That is, unless you order an appetizer sampler. What with the option of buffalo wings, potato skins, mozzarella sticks, etc., you can sure fill up on those culinary treasures. Trust me, in undergrad, you didn’t need much else. And the value? Forget about it! Anyway.)
And for the 2010 NFL Draft, the perfect appetizer is just a few weeks down the menu—the 2010 NFL Combine.
It’s at this venue where each NFL team will get a taste of the talent pool from which to pick from at the NFL Draft two months later.
It’s at this venue where Rutgers’ offensive line product Anthony Davis can boost his value even higher than it currently is.
Davis is already widely considered as a top three to five offensive tackle prospect in the 2010 NFL Draft class.
According to ESPN’s Scout’s Inc., he is the top-rated offensive lineman on the board and the fourth-best overall prospect.
Not bad for a kid out of Rutgers.
But the NFL Combine can be a double-edged sword in that some prospects’ stocks rise just as many others’ fall based on their performance.
The beauty is that each athlete invited to the combine is given the same chance to display their skills and show why they should be on your NFL team.
For Anthony Davis, the array of drills and events he will be subject to at the combine could push him even higher than most mock drafts have him slotted.
At 6'6" and 325 pounds, Davis already passes the size test for an NFL offensive tackle.
But as we know, size means about as much as eye color in the NFL.
(See Ray Rice, running back, 5’8”, 205lbs and Gary Brackett, middle linebacker, 5’11”, 235lbs).
But it’s Anthony Davis’ strength, athleticism, and aggressiveness that make him such a coveted NFL prospect, and these skills should help Davis score near the top of every drill.
As Rutgers Coach Greg Schiano said, “He's so athletic for anybody, forget big or small. But then throw in the fact that he's 320 pounds. He's an incredible athlete.”
As a pass-blocker, Davis showed the ability to shut down some of the nation’s top pass rushers.
Defensive end George Selvie of South Florida, for example, was neutralized by Davis two years in a row.
As a run-blocker, Anthony Davis was often times seen throwing himself into linebackers and defensive backs on the pile where his teammates were churning for extra yards—a true representation of his aggressiveness and motor until the whistle blows.
As for strength, jersey No. 75 was rarely seen on the grass.
Instead, Davis would be the one hovering over the defensive lineman he just punished, staring down at his opponent as if to be saying, “get used to it.”
Some concerns about Davis arose because of his one-game suspension in 2008 and the fact that he reported to camp overweight this past year, but he is ready to meet these concerns head on.
Davis already alluded to this when he declared for the draft saying, “It's just minor stuff. I'll be ready to explain all the questions about me missing the Morgan State game.”
Surely every game tape from Anthony Davis’ career at Rutgers is in the hands of any scout or coach that is interested, but how will Davis fare in the drills at the combine?
The forty-yard dash? The bench press? The cone drill and the broad jump?
Anthony Davis will be going up against his most talented peers, and history has shown that AD steps up his game when the stakes are high.
If he can clear the air about his suspension and complete each drill with his natural abilities, he could secure a draft slot higher than any Rutgers fan could dream of.
And if Anthony Davis impresses NFL scouts and coaches enough, they could be dreaming about a main course that will definitely leave their franchise satisfied for years to come.