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2024 Rookie Profile: Ray Davis, Running Back

Despite being an older prospect, Ray Davis brings a lot to the table for an NFL prospect. @ReflipeWThenuz breaks down the player and his potential future in the NFL.

Ray Davis is one of the more polarizing prospects in the 2024 NFL draft class. The fifth-year super senior has had a long and circuitous college career that has taken him from Temple University to Vanderbilt and Kentucky in the SEC. Over that time, he amassed some impressive numbers and established himself as a prospect to be reckoned with. With the NFL draft at hand, Davis is likely to hear his name called at some point later this week. Without further ado, let us examine the Wildcat back.

Profile

  • School: Kentucky
  • Year: Super Senior
  • Position: Running Back
  • Home Town: Blairstown, NJ
  • Height: 5’8”
  • Weight: 211 lbs
  • 40-Yard: 4.52
  • Vert: 35”
  • Broad: 9’11”

Background

As mentioned in the opening, Davis has traveled a unique path to the draft. Coming out of high school in New Jersey, Davis was lightly recruited at the national level. 247sports ranked Davis outside the top 100 players at his position. Despite the low level of interest nationally, Davis eventually chose Temple over several FCS and lower-level FBS schools, including Maine, Kent State, and Albany. 

College Career

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Rushing & Receiving Table
RushingReceivingScrimmage
YearSchoolConfClassPosGAttYdsAvgTDRecYdsAvgTDPlaysYdsAvgTD
*2019TempleAmericanFRRB121939364.881518112.1220811175.410
2020TempleAmericanSORB4783083.9112625.20903704.11
2021VanderbiltSECJRRB3442114.815275.40492384.91
2022VanderbiltSECSR1223210424.55291695.8326112114.68
*2023KentuckySECSRRB1319911295.714333239.8723214526.321
CareerOverall74636264.929947628.11284043885.241
Temple27112444.69272439.0229814875.011
Vanderbilt27612534.56341965.8331014494.79
Kentucky19911295.714333239.8723214526.321
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 4/22/2024.

Davis is a truly unique prospect when you dig into the numbers. I can’t think of another RB with over 1,000 rushing yards for three separate teams. Davis made his presence felt immediately in Philadelphia, racking up over 1,000 total yards as a true freshman. As a result of his early success, he was named to several Freshman All-American teams. 

Despite his wildly successful Freshman run, Davis struggled to find his footing in his sophomore year. Things eventually deteriorated to the point that the talented RB chose to transfer. Davis eventually took the transfer portal and headed to the SEC at Vanderbilt University. 

Davis was forced to earn his stripes at Vanderbilt when he barely saw the field in 2021. Then, in 2022, in what was supposed to be his Senior year, Davis put up his second 1,000-yard campaign. The New Jersey kid set career highs almost across the board despite playing against much more talented opposition. 

With the COVID-19 rules allowing players to take an extra year in college, Davis took advantage of that opportunity and entered the transfer portal again. This time, Davis chose to stay in the conference, moving just next door to the University of Kentucky. In Lexington, Ray Davis blossomed. He managed to put forth his most successful season in nearly every way. You will find his career college numbers below.

Film Breakdown

When watching the film on Ray Davis, the first thing that stands out is the power he runs with. Given his 5’8” 215 lb. frame, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Below, you can see examples of Ravis running with excellent power at all three stops along his college journey. 

For a player with Davis’ limited receiving numbers, Davis boasts a soft pair of hands in the passing game. He made several nice catches both downfield and out of the backfield. He displayed an excellent football IQ on some of his catches, quickly getting off the turf after a block to provide his quarterback with an outlet. 

Davis also brings excellent vision to the NFL. Watch the play below, where he picks his way to the outside before finding the hole. Once he sees it, he plants his foot in the ground and cuts upfield, exploding for a nice gain. 

Davis also displayed a nice nose for the endzone. While watching the tape, you could see a very nice football IQ. Davis would put that little extra into the play to help get the ball in the endzone if he was close to the endzone.

While Davis will never be confused with CJ2K, that doesn’t mean he is running in the mud, either. As you can see below, Davis plays with enough game speed to rip off big plays when they present themselves.

I was disappointed that Davis did not test in the 3-cone drill at the combine. I would like to see how he compares to a prospect similar to Blake Corum. Both players boast a similar build and raw speed score.

Like Corum, Davis has an excellent bounce cut that he deploys on defenders regularly.

Areas of Improvement

Davis has an NFL skill set to offer clubs at the next level. However, that does not mean he is without his warts. Davis can struggle in pass protection. Of all the shortcomings that Davis may or may not have, this was the one that stood out to me the most. He wasn’t terrible either; I just expected more in this area for a player based on his build and physicality. This will be a major area for him to work on at the next level.

Furthermore, Davis is not an explosive runner. He often appears quicker than fast, needing to build up his long speed instead of getting to top gear within a short area. His age will also be a significant strike against Davis. Turning 25 in November, Davis will likely be a true one-contract player.

Final Thoughts

When looking at the total package Davis offers, there is quite a bit to like. He brings NFL size and power to the table. He has shown an ability to succeed at multiple different locations. Moving up to the SEC competition didn’t seem to phase Davis, as his numbers improved compared to what he had flashed at Temple early in his career.

Heading into the NFL Draft, I think Davis will likely be an early third-day selection. If he lands in the right spot, he could be very relevant to fantasy. As with many in this class, draft capital and situation will ultimately dictate Davis’ dynasty value heading into draft season. Keep an eye on this tough runner, as his value could be as early as the second round in your dynasty drafts if he gets the right spot and draft capital. 

Thank you for reading this article! Please be sure to join the #Nerdherd, so you don’t miss out on any of the amazing things we have to offer @Dynastynerds.com. Use my promo code DynastyHolliday for a 15% off discount. You will get rankings, extra podcasts, and access to our rookie film room. For just a couple of bucks more, you can get access to our revolutionary DynastyGM tool. So much for so little; why miss out on all the fun? Also, you absolutely must check out our new mock draft tool. Find it in your Apple & Android app stores. Follow me @ReflipeWThenuz for more dynasty content and other musings.

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