The Senior Bowl is a chance for the top senior prospects to come together and compete in front of a multitude of media and NFL scouts. And for Clemson’s James Davis, it’s a chance to prove that he belongs among the top running backs in the draft.
After sharing the backfield with the dynamic C.J. Spiller the last two seasons, Davis still posted incredible numbers (385 carries for 1,815 yards and 21 touchdowns) and has a lot to offer to a team at the next level. At 5-foot-11, 207 pounds, Davis is a solid running back with good quickness and cutback ability, but he still has some work to do in pass protection.
In this Scout.com exclusive, NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber asked Davis about his week in Mobile, which teams have shown an interest in him and if he regrets not declaring for the draft after his junior campaign.
Chris Steuber: What has your experience been like at the Senior Bowl this week?
James Davis: It’s been a good experience; it’s a chance to get more exposure. It’s a chance to experience what the NFL level is all about.
CS: How have the practices this week compared or differed from what you’ve been used to at Clemson?
Davis: The tempo of practice is much faster; it’s something that I’m not used to just yet. But, I like the feeling of it. I’m glad they’re using the system we ran at Clemson; they have the same play calls and everything. We did the same things at Clemson that we’re doing here, so it’s helped me out a lot.
CS: I’m sure you’ve been approached by a lot of teams in Mobile. Have any teams in particular seemed to show more interest in you than others?
Davis: A couple of teams have shown a lot of interest. The Denver Broncos; I’ve talked to a lot of those guys around here. I also met with the New Orleans Saints a couple of times. They just want to see what you know about the game. But those two teams definitely stood out to me.
Davis has received a lot of attention this week in Mobile, but the Denver Broncos intrigue him the most.
CS: Denver sounds like an interesting destination for you. Your game is similar to former Broncos running back great, Terrell Davis. How do you think you compare to him and can you foresee yourself in Denver next year?
Davis: That’s my type of guy. With my last name being Davis and my style of play, I think I’m a Terrell Davis type of player. I’d definitely like to go there if I could. I know a couple of guys on the team. I think I’d fit well.
CS: Did the Broncos and Saints just conduct background checks on you, or did they get more involved?
Davis: They all do the background checks. They want to know everything about your family history; you have an idea of what they’re going to ask you. But you also know when a team is interested, because they will ask you to draw up your favorite run play and explain it, as well as your favorite pass play and explain the protections. If teams ask you those questions, you get a sense that they’re really interested.
CS: Were the Broncos and Saints the only teams to ask you to draw up plays?
Davis: No, the Minnesota Vikings did as well. But the San Diego Chargers guy really picked my brain. That was interesting.
CS: A lot of chalk talk with San Diego?
Davis: Yes sir.
CS: Do these interviews with the teams give you a head start going into the Scouting Combine, where all you really have to focus on is your workout?
Davis: Oh, yeah, I think they do. The teams here [at the Senior Bowl] get an up close look at you live and making contact, so when you get to the Combine, they will look for something specific during your workout. This week has been a big help.
CS: With draft day three months away and knowing what you know now about your draft status, do you have any regrets about not leaving school early and taking advantage of a higher draft grade?
Davis: No, I don’t have any regrets. If you look at it, I think I made a good decision to go back. We just didn’t have the year we wanted to have. But, I was able to mature and become a much more complete player. So, I think I made the right choice by going back for my senior year, no matter where I’m drafted.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.