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PFF scouting report: Justin Davis, RB, USC

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Running back Justin Davis #22 of the USC Trojans runs the ball against linebacker Cameron Brown #31 of the Penn State Nittany Lions during the 2017 Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 2, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Name: Justin Davis

School: USC

Position fit: Running back

Stats to know: His 111.8 elusive rating in 2016 ranked ninth in the draft class.

What he does best:

  • Can make defenders miss at the second level and in open space.
  • Fluidly shifts from one move to the next.
  • Can stop on a dime. Great fit in a zone-blocking scheme.
  • He wasn’t utilized heavily in the passing game, but does show potential, especially when he can get into space — if he catches the ball.

Biggest concerns:

  • Has a hard time creating his own yards prior to the second level if little is provided by the offensive line.
  • Dropped 18 percent of his catchable targets from 2014 to 2016.
  • Ball security — fumbled eight times on 451 touches from 2014 to 2016, one of the higher rates in the draft class.
  • Huge liability in pass protection. In 2016, he allowed 10 pressures on just 36 snaps in pass protection, easily the worst pass-blocking efficiency among the running back draft class.

Player comparison: Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears

Like Langford, he fits well in a zone-heavy scheme, has good speed, and will make the right reads and cuts to get what the offensive line provides. Neither are players that are going to create their own yardage often behind poor blocking. Davis does a bit of a better job than Langford once in open space, however.

Bottom line: After a productive junior season, Davis returned for his senior year only to suffer an ankle injury midway through the season, and then have his playing time lessened when returning due to Ronald Jones II’s emergence. Davis injured an ankle again in the Rose Bowl that forced him to miss the Shrine Bowl and most drills at the combine. He shows good speed and change of direction once he has some room to run, but he is going to need more help getting to the second level than backs. He isn’t very physical as a runner, and won’t break many tackles unless he’s making a defender miss almost completely. He shows potential as a receiver if he can get into the open field, but drops and lack of reliability in pass protection will hinder his opportunities in the passing game if he doesn’t improve. Reoccurring ankle injuries and fumble rate are also things to be wary of.

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