The Dallas Cowboys have done an excellent job the past few years in the draft by following their philosophy of drafting the best player available. While nearly everyone wants to see them improve their pass rush with their first-round draft pick, I think they would be hard-pressed to pass up on a player as talented as Western Michigan’s wide receiver Corey Davis if he is still on the board at 28.
Quite honestly, Davis would be my dream pick for the Cowboys with their first-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. I currently have him ranked as a top 10 player, which means he’s a longshot to still be available at the end of the first round. But, I recently wrote about how he could possibly fall right in the lap of the Cowboys.
If he is still available at 28 for the Dallas Cowboys, I wouldn’t hesitate to put his name on the draft card because I think he is a perfect fit in Dallas.
Let’s first take a look at Corey Davis’ impressive route running for a big WR.
Watch “Corey Davis route running & hands” on Streamable.
Honestly, this particular clip isn’t the best example of his route running, but this is the type of route we usually see smaller/slot receivers run, not 6’3″, 213 WRs. In fact, this is the type of route that we have seen Cole Beasley execute perfectly time and time again.
At the snap of the ball, Davis sales his route hard to the inside with his eyes on the defensive back. When he sees the DB has outside coverage on the other WR, he sinks his hips and chops his feet, redirecting his route straight to the sideline. This isn’t always the easiest thing to do for bigger wide receivers such as Davis.
When redirecting his route towards the sidelines, he works his way back towards the QB in case the CB had tight coverage. Unfortunately, it looks like the QB was expecting him to break straight towards the sideline, thus creating a high throw.
Davis is able to make a fantastic catch by fully extending with his right arm and tipping the ball back to himself. He then plants his foot in the ground and explodes up the sideline to pick up a first down, finishing the play in a physical manner.
Corey Davis’ route running and hands were on full display on this one play. We all know that he can play on the outside, but these types of routes will also make him effective out of the slot as well.
Now let’s take a look at one of the underrated aspects of Davis’ game, his blocking.
Watch “Corey Davis blocking” on Streamable.
In this particular play Corey Davis proves that he is willing to do the dirty work by blocking down field, something that the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff often complemented Terrance Williams of doing.
This play was just a simple swing pass to the outside. Davis is responsible for blocking the closest DB and not only does he accomplish what he supposed to, but he does it in an impressive manner.
This is no easy block to make. The DB is at an advantage being able to see where the WR is going, while Davis is pretty much blind to what’s going on behind him.
With the DB on the move to try and make the play, Davis is able to patiently wait and square up to the defensive back. He get his hands inside his numbers and drives him backwards several yards down the field, ultimately manhandling him out of bounds.
To me, this single play is just as impressive as any of his highlight catches. It shows me that he is not a “diva” WR and takes pride in doing the little things to help his team.
What about how Corey Davis helps Ezekiel Elliott and the running game with his downfield blocking?
Watch “Corey Davis blocking in the running game” on Streamable.
In the clip above, it looks as if it is a run/pass option for the quarterback. So, Corey Davis isn’t aware that the running back has the ball until he cuts his route back to the inside and sees the RB coming right at him.
Davis is able to turn around and make the block on the cornerback that was covering him, giving the RB a little bit more room to slip a tackle and pick up an extra 40 yards.
This is a type of block that turns a good play into a possible game changer. You make that kind of block for Ezekiel Elliott and he is probably taking it to the house for a touchdown.
Of course, there’s more to Corey Davis’ game then his reliable hands, blocking, and his route running. Davis and Dez Bryant would give quarterback Dak Prescott two really good red zone targets at his disposal.
Davis has really good spatial awareness anywhere on the field of play, but especially in the end zone.
Watch “Corey Davis TD” on Streamable.
The back shoulder throw is one of the hardest to defend for defensive backs in the NFL. In the clip above you see Corey Davis make it look easy, even with the DB all over him trying to make the play.
The cornerback is playing tight coverage on the goal line, but Davis is still able to get a clean release to the outside. The quarterback makes a good throw to Davis’ back shoulder, which is a catch he is able to make by fully extending his arms to get it his hands on the ball. He is able to get both feet down for what is not only a touchdown in college, but the NFL as well.
He knows he is close to the sideline, which is why he dragged his feet. This is an instinctive play on his part because he knows exactly where he is at in the end zone and how much margin of error he has.
This is an NFL type touchdown catch, from a wide receiver that is more than ready to make an impact in the league. But, just in case you’re not convinced, here’s another example.
Watch “Corey Davis spatial awareness” on Streamable.
This just might be my favorite play made by Corey Davis in all of my film study of him. It’s that impressive!
First off, Davis is able to beat the CB at the line of scrimmage with a little stutter step/head fake before breaking to the corner of the end zone. The QB throws the ball were only Davis can get it, but it was no easy catch by any means.
Davis had to jump and fully extend his 6’3″ frame to catch the ball. He was then able to get both feet in bounds with the final little toe tap at the end. But, what is most impressive about this play is the fact that as soon as Davis has his hands on the ball, you see his head instantly tilt down so he can get his eyes on the sideline.
This is something that can be coached up in a player, but it’s usually something that is more instinctive than anything.
Overall, Corey Davis is exactly the type of wide receiver the Dallas Cowboys want playing opposite Dez Bryant. He can line up anywhere on the field and play the X, Y, and Z positions if needed. He is arguably the most well-rounded WR in the 2017 draft class and he hasn’t even started to reach his full potential.