Knile Davis, the former Arkansas running back, blew out the Combine yesterday. He looks the part of a physical freak, and even though Davis didn’t have the fastest time for a running back or the most bench press reps, but he had the best combination, finishing 2nd in each, lifting 225 pounds an amazing 31 times while also running a 4.37. He did so at 227 pounds. How does that compare to past running backs?
Using data from nflcombineresults.com, here is every running back who ran a sub 4.5 in the 40 yard dash weighing at least 220 pounds.
We’ve seen some workout warriors come in – most notably Chris Henry of Arizona, who was selected in the second round by Tennessee in 2007 – and put up a great 40 time while never really showing it on the field. Plenty of guys drafted near the top of the draft also show up there. Just two years ago, Mario Fannin went undrafted after running 4.38, and he has been plagued by injuries since then.
Injuries are why Knile Davis was not considered a top prospect entering the draft season. He missed large portions of both his junior and senior years in high school, and then also missed the 2011 season with a broken ankle. Last year, he was one of several Razorbacks that struggled with the turmoil in the program, and Davis only averaged 3.4 yards per carry in 2012.
Of course, in 2010, he had 1,322 rushing yards as a sophomore. Unlike some of the late picks who put up combine numbers, he flashed the potential as a top prospect in the SEC. Had he been able to turn pro after his true sophomore year, and then come in and blown the Combine out, Davis would have been viewed similarly to Jonathan Stewart (4.46, 28 bench reps), who went in the first round.
“I really need to show that the speed is there and the strength is there and the medicals – they’ve checked out, so I am anxious. I am anxious to work out,” Davis said in an interview (via Alabama.com). Did he ever. Now teams will need to weigh the amazing strength/speed combo, where he lifted more than any other running back to also run a sub-4.5 forty, with the injury history and struggles last year, with what he was able to do as a sophomore.
I don’t think he gets into the first round because of that history, but he’s now also more than a late-round prospect. I think he’s gone by the third round, and a team that falls in love with him might have to pull the trigger in the second round. He would seem an interesting fit for a team willing to start him out in a platoon as the bigger back in a duo, a perfect investment of a second day selection.
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