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Can Gabriel Davis Overcome His Late Breakout? A 2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile

On December 23, the Central Florida Knights defeated Marshall in the Gasparilla Bowl. Their top WR Gabriel Davis announced his decision to forego his final season and join the 2020 NFL Draft at the beginning of December and chose to sit out this bowl game.

Background

Davis was a three-star prospect according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings. He was graded as the 268th best WR and 1880th overall player in the class of 2017.

He chose to attend UCF over schools like Appalachian State, Florida International, and Florida Atlantic who had also offered him a scholarship.

College Production

Davis was productive as a sophomore with over 800 receiving yards, but it wasn’t until 2019 that he qualified for a breakout campaign.

SeasGamesRecRecYdsRecYPRRecTD
2017102739114.54
2018125381515.47
20191272124117.212
Career34152244716.123

From a raw statistic perspective, the biggest positive is Davis’s TD production and high yardage efficiency during his 2019 season. In his 2016 study, Kevin Cole identified 16 yards as a threshold for the ability to stretch the field and increased a prospect’s likelihood for success.

SeasRecMSRecYdsMSRecTDMSDominator Rating
20170.120.110.130.12
20180.250.250.250.25
20190.280.320.350.33
Career0.220.230.250.24

Davis fall short of the ideal 29% career market share of yards, but he did manage two seasons above 20%. He broke out at age 20.7, a middling result which puts him on the wrong side of Anthony Amico’s regression tree.

Davis’s college career is strong enough to remove all significant concerns, but also fails to stand out in a strong draft class.

Draft Prospects

Davis has adequate collegiate production and is young enough to provide some excitement for drafters, this offseason. And when using the Box Score Scout Sim Tool with his expected draft position from Grinding the Mocks, the mix of names is probably in line with reasonable expectations. He could be a star, but he could just as easily flop.

I’m somewhat skeptical about the expected draft position of 54 so, to be conservative in the analysis, I also took a look at the Sim Scores from his Upper Limit EDP of 82.  The results remain mixed, but some of the upside disappears.

Using Kevin Cole’s study, referenced above, Davis finishes with a 32% historical success rate in his regression tree. And looking at Anthony Amico’s WR prospect study from 2018, he finishes with a 33% success rate.

Gabriel Davis is far from a lock to be a superstar, but there’s a precedent for prospects with his profile turning into successful fantasy WRs. Should he improve his draft stock at the NFL combine and be drafted in the second round, he will likely be worth a second-round rookie draft selection. If he slips into the third round or beyond, he should be left until the third round of rookie drafts.

Image Credit: Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Gabriel Davis

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