The 2020 NFL Draft is proceeding on-mission, or so we’re supposed to believe right now. Whatever happens in terms how the draft takes place, the sports world’s biggest job placement event — the NFL draft — will still hear former Cal safety Ashtyn Davis’ named called.
But that’s all the certainties we have for the event and Davis as recent reports suggest his next-level position in the NFL is unknown and it may cause his draft stock to slip.
I call bull because Davis can ball, regardless of where he played. One of the best ballhawks in the Pac-12 last season, it didn’t matter where Davis lined up nor did it matter what his assignment was. He found his way to the football and was one of the more solid coverage defensive backs in the entire country, not just this draft cycle.
As recent as this past weekend, CBS Sports released Davis as the third-best safety in the class and the 42nd-best player overall but dropped him down to 115th pick to the Cleveland Browns.
The mock draft stated his unfortunate missing of his Pro Day may see him slide down team’s draft boards after he didn’t run at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. Davis has All-American hurdler speed, we all know that, and he plays that fast on the field.
Current Cal Bear and now-safety Elijah Hicks has no doubt in Davis’ ability in the NFL.
“You know how fast he is because he’s a Pac-12 champion in the hurdles,” Hicks said. “At the same time, you see how smart he is because he’s making all kind of plays. We like to call it above-the-neck football.
“We take pride in that knowing how to trick the quarterback into giving us plays. You see it on film. Ashtyn or (fellow safety) Jaylinn (Hawkins) . . . they’re going to see these guys know football.”
Yes, you can see that on tape. There are multiple plays on the ball that Davis makes when he wasn’t even the primary coverage defender. And plenty of plays he makes to break up passes or force incompletions when he was the primary target.
He’s a lockdown defensive back and one that should easily be able to be slapped with the ‘defensive chess piece’ that is movable all over the backend of an NFL secondary.
His inability to show his straight-line speed at the ‘Underwear Olympics’ should do him no harm. Just throw on the film.
I think he’s a much better player than a fourth-round selection and not only that, would be shocked if he’s still available in the fourth round just because he didn’t get to run a 40-yard dash.
So, what about you? Where do you think Ashtyn Davis lands in the 2020 NFL Draft?