Let me preface this by disclosing, I am a lifelong Arkansan. It’s not a law that by being Arkansas bred and born you have to be an Arkansas Razorback fan…it’s more like an unwritten rule.
My mother still has a picture on her wall of me, about two or three years old, dressed up in a Razorback cheer leading uniform. This is the same mother who bans all day Sunday Football marathons in her home. Football is one thing, the Hogs are another. In a state with no professional football team, basketball team or baseball team, we love our hogs with the fervor and ferocity that few colleges will ever get to experience. Even if you go to another in-state college such as UCA, or Arkansas State, (two programs that have improved by leaps and bounds and are doing very well on their own right), you still support the Hogs. You may paint your face with purple and white, but you still bleed Arkansas red. So maybe some of the passion I have when speaking about Knile Davis comes from my love of the Hogs, or maybe it came from watching him play in college every Saturday, making huge game-changing plays. Maybe, I’ve been drafting him for the past two years on every fantasy team I can because I know, deep down, that as far as handcuffs go, he’s the one I want on my bench.
My passion may make me seem a little bias, however, so let me give you the evidence and let you decide for yourself.
His freshman year coincided with the year of Ryan Mallet. Arkansas was a pass-heavy team, with Mallet throwing bullets and breaking records all over the place. His receiving corps of Joe Adams, Jarius Wright, and Greg Childs were the heavy hitters, and the run game took a back seat. However, Davis was still able to turn 33 attempts into 163 yards, (a 4.9 average), and 4 touchdowns. No small feat for an emerging freshman on a team where the pass was the bread and butter for the offense.
In 2011, Arkansas’ running back Dennis Johnson went down, and Davis’ stock went up. As a sophomore, Davis rushed for over 1,300 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. The Razorbacks were still a pass-first offense, but Davis’ ability could not be denied, and Razorback fans rallied behind Davis. His run game complimented our passing game to a tee, and he turned into our hope and shining star. His explosiveness was impressive to watch. Game after game, he made dramatic goal-line plays, and once he broke free, watch out! He was a speed monster. He finished second in rushing yards for the SEC, only behind future Heisman Winner Cam Newton. He also finished second in rushing yards per attempt, and sixth in rushing touchdowns. A breakout season on the back of an injury…hmmm…
Davis’ final year in college fell pretty flat as he only rushed for 377 yards, and he only scored three touchdowns. Knile had recently returned from a season ending ankle injury that he suffered in practice the summer before he was set to begin his junior season. Though Arkansas fans hoped to see him return to his rushing glory days, Davis was hindered by his injury, and received only half the attempts of his sophomore year. He did however, improve his involvement in the passing attack. His junior season would be his last, however, as he was drafted in the third round of the 2013 Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Let’s just look at his results: Davis came in at 5’10”, 220 pounds. He put up 31 reps with 225 pounds (second overall), was 15th in the vertical jump (33.5”), 10th in the broad jump (121.0”), 11th in cone drills (6.96 seconds), and 15th in the 20 yard shuttle (4.38 seconds). His 40-yard dash time was an impressive 4.37 seconds, second overall. The closest to him? Finishing first was Onterio McCalebb coming in at 4.34. His weight? 168 pounds. 52 pounds less than Davis. He was depicted as “having a chip on his shoulder”. Chip or not, he came out and wowed at the combine. His performance was described as “ridiculous”.
NFL Career: (so far)
Following in the footsteps of someone as prestigious as running back Jamaal Charles has it’s highs and lows. Having one of the best mentors on the field is definitely a high, but a limited workload is something to to be expected in following one of the greats. In 2013, Davis made a name for himself not as a running back, but on special teams with a Kansas City Chiefs’ record, a 108 yard kickoff return. Most notable about his 2013 performance, was his ability to shoulder the load after Charles left the game with a concussion against the Indianapolis Colts. In the final game of the regular season last year, Davis capitalized on his 27 carries with 81 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
Sunday, September 14th 2014: Jamaal Charles left the game with an ankle injury that we now know is described as a “high ankle sprain”. High ankle sprains are largely described as the worst of ankle injuries. Andy Reid has classified the sprain as “not a real severe one”, but a conservative estimate has Charles missing 3-4 weeks. After Charles left the game Sunday, Davis recorded 22 touches for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also had six catches for 26 yards. The takeaway? The top-10 scoring running backs in Week 2 averaged 20.3 carries, so with this type of workload, Davis could finish as a top-10 running back. The average touchdowns scored by top-10 backs in Week 2? One. Davis recorded two. I know this it is extremely early in the season, but at this point you have to work with the facts at hand, and these are the facts.
Some critics have complained that Davis is injury prone. Kniles’ take on that is, “You can’t prove that you’re not going to get hurt, that’s why I don’t understand the injury-prone tag. You can’t say someone’s injury prone, because anyone on the field can get hurt. You can have a hot No. 1 pick, and he can get hurt, to. And then someone who’s been hurt can never get hurt again. There’s no way to prove it.”. Another weakness others have claimed to see in Davis is that he fails to use size to run over targets, choosing rather to dance around them. My response is that no one told the bumblebee he couldn’t fly. While Davis’ frame says he should be a heavy hitting, forward-running back, it belies his extraordinary agility in avoiding defenders which he has demonstrated repeatedly since college.
Davis’ history shows that he can thrive when given the opportunity. Expect him to make the most of this one. Whether you’re a Razorback fan, Chiefs’ fan, or Fantasy Football fan, buy high on Davis. If you have him, play him.
The Draft Day Dame
Categories: Fantasy Football