Hall Davis is Defensisive End and the first of our 2010 picks to have a background in basketball, which seems to be a growing trend in the last few years.
Davis played for lesser known Louisiana-Lafayette, whose coach has had 19 players since 2003 drafted or sign NFL contracts. He certainly didn't have off the charts production against Sun Belt Conference competition, although he had some decent games against their bigger opponents of LSU and Nebraska.
He's a project with nice size, and comes with Eugene Sims as part of the Adam Carriker+ 5th round pick parlay. I felt like this equated more to quantity than quality but I'm reluctant to grade picks this early. That said, Sporting News had him the 7th ranked DE in this year's draft, and the Rams got him somewhere around 17th, depending on how you classify some OLB/DE guys. I know you're thinking Who cares what SN thinks?, but SN has given me some surprisingly insightful scouting info on little known players over the years.
Grading him as a Defensive End is not the same thing as grading the pick though, so I included some of those below for those of you who (like me) are not familiar with his game. Now you have something else to look for in the pre-season.
NFL.com's take: Grade 5.4
Davis was a two-year starter with solid production in college. He has a good combination of size, strength and athleticism for the position. He is a tough, hardnosed player with power to hold the point versus the run as well as the ability to push the pocket. He has good first-step quickness to gain leverage but isn't a natural reactor as plays unfold. Davis runs well but lacks lateral quickness and agility in space. He is an inconsistent tackler who has natural pop but doesn't always break down in the open field. Davis has tools to build on but lacks great instincts and likely will take time to develop..
Strengths: Davis possesses prototypical height and bulk. Has a quick first step and the speed to get around the edge. Shows the strength to shock blockers on their heels and collapse the pocket with a powerful bull rush. High motor kid who fights to the whistle
Weaknesses: Keeps his pads a bit high and struggles to maintain speed in transition. Comes out of his stance too tall and loses leverage. A bit slow recognizing the flow of the play and lacks natural football instincts. Does not display a developed pass rush package to consistently get after the quarterback. Struggles to make tackles in the open field.
Sporting News take: Grade 6.3
Position rank: 7 (drafted: 17)
Strengths:Looks the part with good height and arm length and a thick frame. Is versatile -- shows the strength to play end in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme and the agility and quickness to play inside linebacker for a 3-4 team. Shows solid hand usage, quick footwork and ability to change speeds to defeat one-on-one blocks. Best move is bull rush, showing the power and hand punch to drive his man into the QB with regularity. Stacks up blockers at the point of attack, forcing ballcarriers to cutback into the defense or take a wide angle to the boundary. Never stops hustling. Reads plays well, and always maintains his responsibilities -- be it backside containment or even zone and man-to-man drops into coverage. In coverage, displays surprisingly loose hips to change directions and shows the awareness to cut off receivers' routes and play the ball.
Weaknesses: Lacks elite explosiveness off the snap to consistently threaten the edge as a pass rusher, and thus is not as valuable to 4-3 teams. Does not make many impact plays. At times plays too high, allowing blockers to get into his chest.
Bottom Line: Davis was not even invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, but he pops off game film. Against LSU -- clearly his toughest matchup talent-wise his senior season -- he pancaked both offensive tackles with bull-rush moves. Teams that play a 4-3 scheme might be turned off by his lack of a first-step burst, but 3-4 teams like the Patriots, Chiefs and Jets would love to have his versatility. Many media members will be scrambling to figure out who he is when drafted, but don't be surprised if he is taken in the third or fourth round.