Let me paint you a picture…
Brady at the line of scrimmage, calling the pre-set reads. Brady’s eyes roaming the field looking and understanding how the opposing Miami Defence will be trying to attack him. Call his Wide Receiver into motion trying to understand if the Miami secondary is playing a zone or man coverage, he then calls his cadence and hikes the ball. The pocket is quickly collapsing around, he finds an open receiver in the flats and throws a ball to him….but wait there is a Dolphin player in the shadows, number 29 emerges with ball and create a turnover by intercepting the ball.
As a Miami Dolphin fan, when you think of the number 29, you automatically think of Sam Madison. The ball hawk cornerback that played for us eight years providing blanket coverage to all aspects of the field. Madison best quality was his hit and run technique which is mirrored to all young and upcoming prospects. Madison was paired with Patrick Surtain and the two of them provided one of the best cornerback tandems we have ever seen in the National Football League.
Fast forward to 2013, and now we are seeing a new number 29 roaming our field, identifying the wide receiver breaks, creating havoc to all quarterbacks and coming down with multiple interceptions which has started to get local and national media attention. No, it’s not Sam Madison trying to resurrect his career rather a new and exciting prospect that we took in this year NFL draft; Will Davis.
I can’t even remember the last time a Dolphins starting CB took an interception 100 yards for a touchdown (Louis Oliver, I think)? Will Davis has game changing ability written all over him.
There is limited game tape on this prospect because he only played two years, but his last season at Utah State was amazing. He showed a drastic improvement in all categories, the most important one INT, where he snagged down 5 INTS, and took one to the house for a 100 yard return. And you have to give mad love to this kid, as those 5 INT were all in consecutive games. Let that marinate for a second.
How did he do this…speed. He’s got amazing acceleration and his shadowing is great but needs improvement. The way he back peddles and his eyes on player reactions will remind a lot of our fans of Sam Madison. Honestly, now that Davis wears 29, you would think that Madison is back on our team.
Davis only weakness that I can see is his experience. Due to only playing two years his game recognition needs works which is why his shadowing is not up to speed. His zone developments are not yet accurate and his positioning needs work. This is especially evident in cover 3 schemas. Davis plays a strong man coverage and has a nice built to him, (benching 16 reps at the combine shows he’s not shy to avoid contact). The best part about this is that all these weakness are teachable, which is why Davis fell to the third round. Kevin Coyle has the opportunity to mold this prospect to his liking and deploy Davis where he sees a fit. Davis reaction time due to his speed can make up for this zone positioning or lack of game experience, but once Coyle develops him and Davis gets it all together, which we are seeing on the practice field, we are looking like a legit 3rd round steal.
Davis habits on the practice field have translated to the field as well. Last week during the Jacksonville game, Will Davis picked off a deep stop and go pass by Jacksonville quarterback Mike Kafka recording his first interception of his young career.
The best thing about Davis is his attitude, he wants to learn, he wants to be a player for our team, and more importantly he understands and recognizes the lesson he is learning from his coaches. I can’t stress how important that is, there are some prospects that just rely too much on their strength and don’t understand the fundamentals of the game thereby leading them to become ‘busts’ or devalued to the second or third strings. When you have a player that shows this much promise on both sides of this game, in the classroom and on the field you cannot be excited for his development as a Miami Dolphin.
Since the departure of Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain there has been a dark shadow in our secondary. Sean Smith and Vontae Davis tried to clear the air, but both of them left as disappointments, causing more darkness than clarity. Now that we have drafted another duo of cornerback and bringing in a former pro ball cornerback in Brent Grimes, the dark shadowing is slowing dissolving and glimpse of light is starting to emerge…that light that is breaking through the shadows is Will Davis.