Scouting Report: Trevor Davis Lived In Hawaii and Left – On Purpose
There is nothing more mythical than a player’s speed. Rumors of Trevor Davis’ ability to get down the field spread quickly after his selection by the Packers in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Trevor Davis received a last minute invitation to the combine in Indianapolis. Didn’t matter. He ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash.
Or was it 4.37-seconds? That’s what Packers director of football operations Eliot Wolf hand-timed his 40-yard dash.
He was the third fastest wide receiver and thirteenth fastest overall tested in 2016.
ESPN’s Todd McShay took notice of Davis, too:
NESN named Davis one of the biggest surprises of the NFL Combine, reporting Davis “might have made himself some money Saturday with an impressive workout.”
The 23-year-old Davis has always been an exceptional athlete. His size precluded him from major college scholarship opportunities. A growth spurt didn’t start until his sophomore year at Alhambra High School in Martinez, California. By his senior year, Davis was a wiry 6-foot, 150-pound receiver.
Rivals graded Davis as a three-star recruit, but most other publications gave the skinny receiver two stars.
Idaho, Colorado State and Hawaii recruited Davis, and the California product selected Hawaii. At the time of Davis’ enrollment, the Rainbow Warriors boasted the number one passing offense in the NCAA.
Trevor Davis, Wisconsin Badger
Hawaii fired their coaching staff after Davis' sophomore year. The talented receiver sought to transfer to another program. At the time, he told reporters his priority was to finish his career on a “bigger stage.” His decision came down to the Wisconsin Badgers and the Cal Golden Bears.
"I took a trip to Wisconsin,” Davis said of his transfer decision. “It was perfect weather when I was there, but I'm perfectly fine with the cold. I love the snow, when I go snowboarding, so I love the snow a lot. I can deal with any kind of weather."
Badgers coach Gary Andersen offered more stable playing time. The ability to study under talent at wide receiver in Cal and an opportunity to go back home closed the deal.
Davis shines as returner, receiver
Cal quarterback Jared Goff took notice of Davis during the receiver's redshirt season. With Davis practicing on the offensive scout team, Goff regularly heard raucous cheers. Trevor Davis was making a name for himself.
On a team loaded with wide receiver talent, including future Packers receiver Chris Harper, opportunities to stand out were few.
Once he saw the field with Cal, Davis wasted no time turning heads. His debut with the Golden Bears against Northwestern featured a 76-yard touchdown. Then, Davis returned two consecutive kickoffs for touchdowns against Washington State. He averaged 32.6 yards per kick return that season, the second-best mark in the NCAA. Second best was good enough for the Packers.
“Anytime you can get a weapon in the fifth round, I think you have to do that,” Wolf said of Davis. “A 4.3 guy, big hands, some production there in a good passing offense.”
Though Davis was inconsistent in college, no one can doubt his big play potential. He finished his two seasons at Cal with 11 catches over 30 yards, seven grabs over 50 yards and four kick returns over 40 yards.
How Davis fits in with the Packers
Three years later, Davis is back in Wisconsin, albeit a bit further north in Green Bay. Ironically, he joins former Badger Jared Abbrederis, at one time a potential collegiate teammate.
The 2015 Packers season stalled in part because of a lack of separation by their wide receivers. When the only trick Green Bay could pull from the passing game was the back-shoulder throw, defensive backs caught on.
Davis could add a new element to the Packers’ passing attack. West Coast scout Sam Seale said of Davis, “He brings an extra dimension to this team. Watching last year when teams were daring us to go deep, I don’t think they’ll do that with this kid.”
Davis may also have an opportunity to contribute on special teams. Randall Cobb made a name for himself as a kick and punt returner, but his value as a slot receiver reduced his opportunities as a returner. Since Cobb, the Packers have used a combination of Micah Hyde, DuJuan Harris, Ty Montgomery and Jeff Janis to return kicks. Davis will certainly have an opportunity to secure a spot on the 53-man roster and active roster through his return abilities.
Much like his time at Cal, Davis joins a squad loaded with young wide receivers. Randall Cobb, Jeff Janis, Davante Adams and Jared Abbrederis are all between the ages of 23 and 25. Despite a deep depth chart, the Packers favor providing ample opportunities to their draft picks. Davis will certainly have opportunities to showcase his elite speed.
If an injury or poor performance besets him in training camp, Davis’ early career may mirror fellow speedster Jeff Janis. Janis spent his 2014 rookie year on the practice squad. He was elevated in 2015 to the 53-man roster, but spent the majority of the season on the inactive list because of inconsistency in practice.