Spotlight: Fred Davis
posted by Jason Wood on Jul 31st
Jason Wood's thoughts
Fred Davis has to be excited. After 23 wins in four NFL seasons, the Washington Redskins have finally added a potential franchise quarterback. Gone are the days of Jason Campbell, an aging Donovan McNabb, Todd Collins, Rex Grossman and John Beck. For now and the foreseeable future, Davis will be catching passes from Robert Griffin III, the explosive, exciting 2nd overall pick from Baylor University.
Expectations are sky high for a Redskins team that now feels it can compete in an absolutely loaded NFC East. For that to happen, Griffin is going to need reliable weapons, and Fred Davis has to be a big part of the game plan.
Davis is a 6'3", 250 pound tight end that's part of the new breed of athletic, fluid pass-catching options at the position. But don't let that description mislead you, he's a more-than-capable blocker which is why the Redskins saw fit to place the franchise tag designation on Davis this offseason.
At first glance, Davis' career numbers don't look worthy of a potential Top 5 fantasy finish:
Why is someone that's yet to finish in the Top 10 being drafted 8th at his position, and being touted by some as a Top 5 sleeper? The devil is in the details. If you notice, last year Davis only played 12 games. He missed the final four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Prior to those four games, Davis was producing at a Top 5 level:
When you consider that Davis accomplished this without quality quarterbacking, it stands to reason his opportunities should only increase if Robert Griffin III lives up to his reputation. You also need to remember that Davis had to fight the incumbency of Chris Cooley in prior seasons, but at this juncture Cooley is no longer a threat - in fact, it's unclear whether he'll make the final 53-man roster.
- Davis is part of the new breed of ultra-athletic tight ends; he has the strength to dominate defensive backs but the speed to make linebackers look foolish
- Robert Griffin III should be a major improvement at quarterback, assuring more accurate targets on a more consistent basis
- Davis was producing Top 5 numbers last year before a 4-game suspension, yet many fantasy owners still view him as a player that's yet to play at an elite level
- The Redskins added Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan in free agency, and also hope to see more from Leonard Hankerson; if those receivers pan out, Davis could see fewer targets per game
- Serving a four-game suspension last year, Davis runs a high risk of a more significant suspension if he falls prey to the substance abuse policy again
- The Redskins offensive line has question marks, which may require Davis staying in to block and blitz protect more than the Shanahans would otherwise prefer
Consider Davis the ultimate consolation prize. The tight end position is garnering more attention in the top rounds than ever before, but not everyone can or will use a 1st or 2nd round pick on the likes of Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. Davis is coming off the board, on average, in the 7th or 8th round -- and yet we know he can deliver top 5 numbers in ideal circumstances, and top 10 numbers as a baseline projection.
Quotations from the message board threadTo view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there), click here.
You'd have to think RG3 is going to lean on Davis. They don't have a lot at the skill spots right now. I'd argue Davis is perhaps the best they have relative to his peers.msommer said:
[Fred] is a suspension waiting to happen
Fred Davis projections
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