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5 Guys that Have to be Good: Trevor Davis

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5 Guys that Have to be Good: Trevor Davis

5 guys that have to be good is a series that I've been running for a number of years.  It focuses on five Packers players that need to have good seasons for Green Bay to return to Super Bowl glory.  You won't see Aaron Rodgers or even Jordy Nelson on this list.  It's not a list of obvious guys that make a ton of money that have to play well for the team to succeed.  These are "X" Factors, like Desmond Bishop and Bryan Bulaga in 2010 that could mean another run at the Super Bowl.

Stay tuned to PackersTalk.com and of course CHTV the next few Fridays and Mondays for the rest of this series.

We can all openly admit now that we likely live in a world in which Jeff Janis won't be a real contributor on the offensive side of the football.  It was certainly possible to see this coming.  After all, Janis is without question an elite athlete.  He was also unable to convince any NFL team to draft him before the seventh round.

Jeff Janis has been talked to death on all forms of Packers media.  Talk shows, podcasts, the Journal Sentinel (the JS Comments Twitter account) and certainly the Packers blogosphere has covered the Sagniaw Valley State product from top to bottom.  This is not one of those pieces, though.

The reason I bring up Janis is that he's not going to be the Packers' vertical threat in 2017.  It's also likely that Jordy Nelson isn't going to be that vertical threat either.  Nelson was exceptional in 2016 and won NFL Comeback Player of the Year, but was not the deep threat he had been in seasons past.  Could Nelson make a stride vertically in the second year after his ACL surgery?  Certainly.  It's also possible that he won't, though.  Nelson is going to be 32 this season and has already (very successfully) made the transition to being more of a weapon out of the slot position.

Who, then, runs the 9 route?  Who can Green Bay trust to stretch the defense vertically?  If the Packers can find a viable deep threat, their passing game becomes basically unguardable.  The NFL's highest rated passer of all time already has fpir elite options in the middle of the field and underneath in the aforementioned Nelson, tight end Martellus Bennett, slot machine Randall Cobb and running back Ty Montgomery.  Cobb is still great, Bennett is one of the best five tight ends in football and you won't find many running backs in the NFL that trained in as a wide receiver, especially a wide receiver in an offense as complicated as McCarthy's.

That's all well and good, and frankly Green Bay's offense will be good no matter what, but if second year receiver Trevor Davis can become a viable downfield threat it will open that offense up and potentially bring the offense to 2014 and 2011 levels (Marty Bennett really is that good, but that's a different piece for a different day).  Davis doesn't have to develop into a complete superstar in the way that deep threats DeSean Jackson, Julio Jones and Dez Bryant have for the Packers to be effective.  All Davis needs to do is carve out a Kenny Stills or Taylor Gabriel-like role in McCarthy's offense.  

Davis certainly has the track record you would look for.  In his final two seasons at Cal, Davis averaged more than 16.5 yards per catch.  Those numbers are confirmed by Davis' athletic profile as well.  Davis' 4.42 40 yard dash puts him in the 83rd percentile at his position and his 6.6 second 3 cone drill is crazy elite -- it's better than 95% of the wide receivers tested.

Green Bay used Davis sparingly as a deep threat in 2016 until a rough game in Atlanta caused him to be buried down the depth chart, specifically behind undrafted free agent Geronimo Allison.  Davis showed his wheels in the 34-27 home win over Detroit, drawing a 66 yard pass interference penalty (pictured above).

Players often make a noticeable jump from year one to year two in McCarthy's system.  If Jeff Janis and Jordy Nelson can't be the deep threats that this team needs, someone is going to have to take those reps.  There is certainly reason to believe that player can be Trevor Davis.  Trevor Davis has to be good.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (31) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Mojo's picture

This is from Davis's profile from NFL. com: WEAKNESSES Track speed doesn't translate underneath. Needs runway to get going and can't hit jets out of his breaks for separation. Needs to improve hard vertical push to clear space for comebacks and outs. One­-speed, rounded routes need work. Struggles to release cleanly against quality press coverage.

Or from Draftwire: Very lanky frame and could stand to add muscle at the next level. Struggles to gain clean release against press coverage. Gets crowded to the sideline by physical corners and can’t separate. Hand usage and footwork are raw. Not as explosive as you’d hope off the line of scrimmage. Simple route tree, ran mostly slip screens, curls, and nine routes. Rounds off patterns, failing to sink and burst away from coverage. Lacks the size/length to complete contested catches consistently. Limited production throughout his career (One 100-yard game). Some drops. Played only outside receiver at Cal.

Sure I cherry-picked the negative comments, but it does give the impression Davis could struggle to make the the 53, much less have to be good for GB to make the SB.

Ross Uglem's picture

"Sure I cherry picked the negative comments but....."

Your argument is disqualified. Every prospect has a weaknesses column on their scouting report. You can dislike Davis and you can even be right this just wasn't a sensible way to go about making an argument.

flackcatcher's picture

Your DQed on your DQ. I disagree with MoJo too, but it is a solid argument. It all comes down to growth and maturity, IE: the eye test. We know when training camp opens.

The TKstinator's picture

Good hands, good speed, good agility.
Weight room to gain strength. Coach him up on the rest. A good candidate for draft AND DEVELOP, which requires time and patience. And with the receivers in front of him, GB has the luxury to do exactly that.

Point Packer's picture

As i said below, if GB needs Davis to be good to win a SB, then GB will not win a SB. He's a fringe player whose future is on Special Teams.

Since '61's picture

Davis will need to be good just to make the team. We know the Packers top 3 receivers will be Nelson, Cobb and Adams. Allison probably has the #4 spot to lose so Davis will need to fight off Yancey, Dupre, Janis and probably a UDFA or 2 or 3. With at least 3 TEs I doubt that the Packers will keep more than 6 WRs. Also the Packers may keep as many as 5 RBs. I'd be fine if Trevor Davis is one of the 6 but he needs to make the 53 before we discuss how good he needs to play. Thanks, Since '61

dobber's picture

As I read this, I don't know if this has to be Davis per se or really just someone LIKE Davis. I tend to side with your argument: there might not be room for Davis, specifically, at the end of camp. I think we all agree that more speed on the outside is a need for this team (assuming Nelson hasn't regained a step), and Davis is the most visible player poised to be that person. We can argue Janis (he has all the tools, too, except apparently for the ones between the ears), but if someone can add this element to the passing game, this offense has the opportunity to be special.

Since '61's picture

Agree! Thanks, Since '61

Dzehren's picture

Davis is a roster bubble player at this point. Hope he pans out.

Turophile's picture

This would have made more sense if Cobb were named instead of Davis. His $12.65m cap hit this year and $12.75m next year, is the key. He hasn't played up to that contract so far, and the Packers can only pay that kind of money to (literally) a handfull of players. Trevor Davis' cap hit this year, is under $600,000.

Money will be very tight after Aaron Rodgers huge contract comes in (likely in the $30m per year range), so Cobb's pay scale will get very close scrutiny. In contrast, Davis is on modest money, with a couple of draft choices pushing him for a roster spot.

Five "need to be good" guys I rate above Davis, are Cobb, Matthews, House, Randall, Jahri Evans. I'd rate others like Clark and Lowry above Davis, as well.

I do understand the benefit to the offense, a good sideline deep threat gives the Packers, but I think it's more likely to come from a high draft pick, next year.

Rossonero's picture

WRs coach Luke Getsy talked up Davis in June:

“He’s made big improvements this offseason. Both his approach, and how fast he’s picked up on things.”

“I think he’s going to have a really big August for us. He’ll be one of those guys that are going to show up,” Getsy said. “He’s shown that this spring. He’s made a ton of really, really impressive catches, and assignment wise, he’s been so much better. I’m excited to see him grow here into August.”

gr7070's picture

I disagree with pretty much everything in this article.

A guy who is more likely to be cut than play well is the furthest thing from someone who "needs to play well for the Packers to make the Superbowl"! That is absolutely ridiculous.

You're basically saying the Packers have little chance at making the Superbowl.

Additionally, while Nelson played well from the slot he's still a far better do that than anyone else in this team.

I'm not sure I'd list Des Bryant as a stud deep threat either. Amari Cooper, Doug Baldwin yes. Des is far from the top guys that would enter my mind. Jordy is far superior as a deep threat, and every other area for that matter.

I don't get why Janis is even mentored, as well. No one is even talking about him anymore. Though I'd rather talk about him than Davis. He at least has some known value on the field (special teams) and probably a higher ceiling on O and maybe a similar floor as Davis.

Lastly, Randall Cobb is not still great! He's likely not even very good. He's had two straight years far from great; one of those was ordinary. And 3 of the last 4 years were not all that good.

Cobb might have a very good year in him, but he's highly unlikely to have a great year; and an average NFL WR-year is most likely.

This series of articles is a good concept and has had some reasonable entries over the years, but Davis and the rest of the BS in it are absurd.

justjoe's picture

I pretty much disagree with your entire comment. Didn't Jordy take 3 or 4 years to develope? Yet you want to cut Davis in his second season. Draft and DEVELOPE!!

I don't recall anyone saying we don't have a shot at the Super Bowl, did I miss something?

Cobb might not be "great." But he certainly is above average to very good. If you don't see that then I can't help you.

Packmaniac's picture

The 3-cone drill isn't run against press coverage

dobber's picture

Would make it far more entertaining, tho...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Davis doesn't have to be good. If you want an epic offense, then maybe he does, but we might have a history-making offense without him.

Mojo's argument is accurate, even if he omitted Davis' pros, because every drafted player has strengths. Unfortunately most of Davis' strengths are directly offset by his weaknesses. Here are his pros:

1. He is fast. But he is not explosive off the line, has trouble beating press coverage, his fakes and explosion out of his breaks are lacking. If the CB is slow to flip his hips, Davis will run by the CB, but few NFL CBs will make that mistake because Davis can't deceive and he has limited ability to operate underneath. His 1.51 10 yd dash at the combine is invisible on the field.

2. Exciting open field runner with excellent vision, agility and is fearless. Makes him a dangerous punt returner, especially when he gets a running start. Hands are okay but he does have drops. Personally, I think fumbles on punt returns are devastating since you generally lose 40+ yards of field position, which means the opposing team likely is in field goal position right away.

3. Tracks the ball well over the shoulder. That is nice as some don't, but he has got to be open deep first.

4. He will pluck the ball out of the air, and is fearless even if contact is imminent, but isn't good at completing contested catches. He'll try though, but he's no James Jones or even Jordy.

He is not a lost cause, he was just raw and not ready to be an NFL receiver. If he learns his route running, and can run a curl, dig, comebacks, then he can learn to use a double move to get deep. Getsy said that Davis is coming along slowly.... It would be nice.

Firstdown's picture

You can't believe everything you read. The NFL didn't write that first evaluation of Davis, a radio sports host from Texas did. He got a contract with the NFL to write over 500 evaluations, and probably didn't watch one second of Davis's film. His evaluation is worth exactly how much time he spent researching Davis- zero.

The thing for me, with receivers, isn't their yards or catches, but how efficient they are with their targets; to me, that's their real production.

Jordy was incredibly efficient in college, some of the best stats I've ever seen. And some others with great efficiency of production in college include Davante Adams, Trevor Davis, and, of all people, Max McCaffrey. Dupre, to a lesser extent, also had nice efficiency.

You people selling Davis short are the same ones who thought that Adams was horrible. Did anyone go to the OTA's? It looked to me like Davis was the #1 kickoff returner, and he and Cobb also looked to be sharing punt returns. It's really unlikely that the team will get rid of their #1 kickoff returner, who also returns punts, and is also our fastest receiver, in favor of two rookies who don't do either, and who also don't know the playbook. Not that Yancey and Dupre aren't viable, just not now.

The play calls are tremendously complicated, I don't think any of us Keyboard Kowboys could learn 50 of them, let alone all 2,000+ plays and play combinations that our receivers have to learn, and to learn them playing at all 4 receiver positions. It's crazy hard.

And until he learns them all (and the 30-40 new plays we have every week), a receiver is slowed down at the line of scrimmage by having to think of what to do , instead of how to do it.

McCarthy and Thompson know this, and are very smart in developing their new receivers over time, so they're ready when needed.

One last thing, Aaron Rogers is a freak of nature, a genius with a phenomenal memory, in the body of the best quarterback in the game.

One sure thing about life- is that everything changes, nothing stays the same. One day, some day, Aaron won't be playing any more. Enjoy every minute of every game, because right now, at this moment, we're living our memories.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

Many good points (which I planned on saying), but I'd like to erase the "of all people" about Max McCaffrey. I think that Trevor and Max both have a solid shot at making the 53 this year. Both are classic Green Bay WR candidates: tremendous athletic skills (4.4), excellent hands, showed flashes as rookies, had coaches commenting on their play at OTAs. If Davis and McCaffrey have learned the system (remember, it was McCaffrey who was put on the roster when our WRs were banged up) and added some strength, Yancey and Dupre could end up on the PS. I fully expect Davis to be the KR and possibly PR this season. Also, a fifth round pick like Yancey typically makes the roster, and he too could fulfill the role of deep threat, which is what he was in college, so I'd argue that ONE of those three (Davis/McCaffrey/Yancey) "NEEDS to be good."

DThomas's picture

Max McCaffrey has to have a good season for the Packers to return to Super Bowl glory.

Just kidding but Max ran an unofficial 4.36 40 at his pro day and he's an inch taller and about 10 pounds heavier than Davis. So he's probably just as fast as Davis and he's been in Green Bay since last August. Of course, I'm kidding the Packers Super Bowl hopes rely on McCaffrey. But the same can be said for Davis. But to be fair to Russ titling his series, "It'd really be great if these 5 Guys had good seasons", lacks the panache of 'Have to be Good'.

I'd love to see the Packers add another reliable vertical threat, no matter who it is. Hell, it'd almost be unfair to the rest of the league with all the weapons the Packers have on offense. Almost...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

This is a breathtaking comment. The assertion that some radio guy wrote Davis' scouting report without watching a minute of his film is incredible. So, NFL.com, CBSsports, Draftwire, Walter football, just made it all up? Give me a source.

I've no idea how Firstdown defines efficiency. Certainly, Davis had a fine yards per reception average at 16.8. His teammate, UDFA Bryce Treggs, was even better with 5 more receptions, 284 more yards, and a 21.2 yd. per reception average. Are talking about Yards/route? Yds/snap?

"You people selling Davis short are the same ones who thought that Adams was horrible." Classic logical fallacy.

The topic wasn't whether Davis is going to make the 53. While draft and development is a fine idea, assuming that we keep 6 WRs, and 4 of them are Nelson, Adams, Cobb and Allison, then out of Davis, Yancey, Janis, McCaffrey, and Dupre, probably 2 make the team, 1 or 2 go on PS and we cut ties altogether with 1 or 2. I don't think many have any idea who is going to make the team right now.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Allison is suspended for one game, so one more player gets to make the 53 for a week. Might be easier to sneak a guy onto the PS one week later.

stockholder's picture

I hope Davis does do good. He still looks like an injury waiting to happen. I don't believe he has an NFL body. My feeling is he'll be on the trainers table. Sending all his work down the drain. I just hope he contributes, and feels No pressure. The biggest thing I'll be watching for; is how quick he separates. Did TT draft him to move on from Adams? Hopefully will see why TT thought so much of him.

Handsback's picture

I don't see WR as a position that is critical to Packer's success. Two years ago, w/o Nelson there wasn't a back-up. This year there are several canidates that will keep those DBs back off man-man coverage.
Someone mentioned in a previous post that an UDFA could fly and catch the ball, along with McCafferty and others that slack will be picked up not like it was two years ago.

BPEARSON21's picture

Davis was a guy from day one who I really really liked. Okay he dropped a punt... I get it... but let's give this guy a little longer of a leash.

The problem is I really like Malachai Dupree, I think he could become one of our best receivers so it's going to be tough to get Davis snaps. But we can line him up in the slot or give him the ball in a sweep play. I think anyone with his speed can make a difference with the ball in his hands.

Unfortunately I don't have any stats or anything to back up my opinion other than just "a feeling" that he can be impact-full.

Arthur Jackson's picture

I expect Davis will be good. When he was drafted I was not in favor of it as I thought it a wasted pick, if you will. Anyway, now that he is on the roster I must say the physical numbers are so phenomenal that the Packers really need to give him every opportunity to have success. He may never pan out, like Janis, but that kind of athleticism means he could be special if he can shore up those weaknesses. To me it seems virtually all his issues are things that can be solved by some weight training and coaching.

Sure the Packer offense (barring injuries) will be fantastic without him on the team, but it's easy to see Ross' point that the offense with Davis living up to his athletic ability receiving could make them a record scoring offense. Throw in just doing 60-75% of what Desmond Howard did returning punts and the pressure that will then be on the other teams offense could make last year's defense acceptable.

dobber's picture

The question is: just how good does your deep threat need to be? How many snaps does he need to play? Whenever your deep threat walks on the field, you're going to take a better player off the field (Cobb? Adams? Nelson? Bennett? Kendricks?) and you're likely telegraphing exactly what that deep threat is going to be doing. That's not hard to cover...maybe will draw a single man if he's really not a quality receiver.

So I would argue that this leaves the Packers with two scenarios for a deep WR:
1. Jeff Janis: OK, OK, we've beaten this horse many times, but I think he's no worse than Davis as a downfield threat because he can do more and has the potential to be productive if used correctly. Janis is not a true downfield receiver as of last fall. Deep balls clank of his pads or helmet...he doesn't adjust well, and ends up in the wrong places. He's really a short-mid range receiver who needs to get the ball in his hands on the move, or he's your jet-sweep specialist. But, again, if you know where he threatens you, you can anticipate that and defend him easily. Still, if all you're looking for is someone fast to run downfield, you might as well pick the guy who's going to make the roster anyway due to his ST chops.
2. The most likely option: I would argue that the Packers are best off if they get deep production from one of their top three WR or TE who will be on the field the majority of the time, anyway: Nelson, Cobb, Adams...keep in mind, Cobb is fast (4.46 combine), and Nelson who plays faster than his timed 4.51 has always had a knack for getting behind secondaries, even last season when people were concerned that he'd never be the same guy. This is where the flexibility and strength of this offense will shine...not by dropping a guy in on one in 6 snaps who you just tell to "go long".

RCPackerFan's picture

I think Davis is poised to take a big year 2. An offseason to fully learn the offense will allow him to play more without thinking.
This will really help him to use his speed and hands better. The less he is thinking about his next move the better he will be.

I think we will see a big jump with Davis this year.
If he does he could become another big weapon for the offense.

LayingTheLawe's picture

So for the Packers to make the Super Bowl their Number 5 receiver needs to be good? Interesting.

With the 3 receivers pretty much set, the tight end options and pass catching from Montgomery out of the backfield, what you do with your backup receivers is an interesting question. Are the number 4 and 5 receivers developing players you are looking to replace the top players if needed or are they players that give the team other options for now?

A player like Allison may never be that guy who can beat a teams number one CB or could thrive with double coverage on him, but he has shown an ability to be that number 4 or 5 option on a play that can find an open area and get a crucial first down. He may never be a number 1 or even 2 receiver but he might still be a valuable player to have on the active roster.

croatpackfan's picture

I will point all of you doubters to see how nice was his TD against Atlanta (season game). He flashed his possibilities in that game. He fumbled punt and lost it. That is why he was put on cold. And, that loss was on the referee's mistake...
I know you all wants Jeff Janis to be that guy. Unfortunatelly that will never happened.
Also, I really believe that Packrs will keep 7 WR this season. Only to have Jeff janis for ST as gunner... Which can be replaced by Jones, btw.

Point Packer's picture

If GB is depending on Trevor Davis to be good to win a SB, then another NFC Championship or Divisional Playoff loss is in our future.

marpag1's picture

Please.... the Packers can be good and return to Super Bowl glory even if Trevor Davis has a great season for a different team.

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