Gabriel Davis Roster Profile
Gabriel Davis was drafted by the Buffalo Bills with the 22nd pick in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Davis, played his college football at UCF, where he contributed for three years.
In this series we will examine:
- Davis’ prospect profile from our Head of College and NFL Content Simon Carroll
- his productivity in college
- his potential opportunities in the NFL in the upcoming season
PRO’S: Fast outside receiver with elite straight line speed. Will take the top off defenses and force them to shade the safety his direction. Enjoys prototypical height and weight for the NFL which coupled with his long speed makes him a big play waiting to happen. Has a good feel for timing with the ball in the air and is able to make up the ground and snag some passes that other receivers wouldn’t be able to get to. Relatively good athleticism at the top of routes to maintain speed out of breaks.
CON’S: Doesn’t have the elite burst off the line that you’d expect for a burner. This makes him liable to aggressive press coverage as corners try to contain him early in the rep. Comes out of his breaks tidily but lack of hip fluidity means he loses velocity going into his breaks. Change of direction is concerningly slow for a game built on speed. Was a one-trick pony to some extent at UCF – stuck outside with a limited route-tree, set off the line to allow greater freedom from the snap. Plenty to learn.
SIMON CARROLL: “Highly productive at his home-town team, Davis is going to look impressive in the forty yard dash for a man his size. Teams would do well to check the tape carefully though – he operated very much in a one-dimensional role at UCF and they disguised his limitations quite well. It’s doubtful he can improve some of his athletic limitations, but he still offers value as a WR3/4 in obvious passing situations”.
NFL COMPARISON: TED GINN JR.
Opportunities at the next level
The numbers above tell you a lot about the style of play that Davis brings to the table. Averaging over 16 yards per reception completely validates what Si said in his profile about being a speed player, and demonstrates why he has compared him to Ted Ginn. It is good to see that he developed through his three year career at UCF, taking advantage of more opportunities, culminating in a 12 touchdown season in 2019.
However, the concerns are also clear, with Davis pulling in just 72 of his 128 targets in his final year at college. He also ranked poorly when it came to his relative athletic score coming out of the combine, with a very poor agility grade and just good results when it comes to explosion and speed.
The real positive for Davis is that the Bills receiver depth chart lacks any depth so to speak of. Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley and John Brown are the clear top three options and are virtual locks to be starting the first game of the season. After them the situation gets murky, and it should mean Davis has a great chance to be on the roster when the season kicks off.
Andre Roberts and Robert Foster are both recognisable names, but their contributions on the field have been minimal. Roberts was a valuable contributor in the NFL over five years ago and Foster was marginalised in this offense by the arrival of Brown. Duke Williams played in only four games and saw just 19 targets. Isaiah McKenzie has bounced around teams and averages just 16.3 receptions per season.
The upshot of this is that Davis should make this roster entering the 2020 season and will at least have the chance to develop. However, he will need an injury to either Brown, Diggs or Beasley to see significant targets, or even snaps offensively. As a developmental piece Davis is interesting if the Bills can round out his game, but with a limited training camp and preseason, that is unlikely to happen in 2020.