Knile Davis: How Will Kansas City's Newest RB Fare in the Pros?

Dan HopeContributor IIIApril 26, 2013

Nov 23, 2012; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks running back Knile Davis (7) rushes past LSU Tigers corner back Jalen Mills (28) at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. LSU defeated Arkansas 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

After Knile Davis' sophomore season in 2010, he looked destined to be a future first- or second-round pick, but he never looked fully healthy last season after missing the 2011 season due to a torn ACL. Nonetheless, the Kansas City Chiefs took a chance on the Arkansas running back with the No. 96 overall selection, their compensatory pick at the end of Round 3.


Pro Outlook

Davis' NFL potential hinges upon whether he can return to being the player he was back in 2010, when he ran for 1,322 yards and 13 touchdowns. If so, he has the potential to be a terrific NFL running back.

Davis looked healthy at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he showed he is still an explosive athlete by running a 4.37-second 40-yard dash. He is an explosive runner who has great speed and agility, but that speed and quickness did not show up often in his play in 2012.

Davis also has very good size for a running back (5'10", 227 pounds) and the power to drive through contact. He has the potential to be a feature back, and a very productive one at that, if he can stay healthy.


Fantasy Outlook

Davis' fantasy value for the 2013 season will depend on his health and number of touches. If he can stay healthy for a full season and see the field consistently as a No. 2 running back behind Jamaal Charles, he could end up being a late-round fantasy football steal.

Although an explosive athlete, Davis will likely be used in more power and short-yardage situations, since the Chiefs already have one of the NFL's most explosive running backs in Charles. That could set up Davis opportunities to be a "touchdown vulture," and at his best, he is always a threat to break out for a big play with his open-field running ability.


Roster Outlook

With Peyton Hillis remaining unsigned, the door is open for Davis to come in and take the No. 2 spot on the Chiefs' depth chart. Jamaal Charles is a back most effective when limited to around 15 carries per game, so if Davis can stay healthy and establish himself as the No. 2 back, he should have plenty of opportunities to play and get touches.


Pick Analysis

If Davis can return to his old form and play up to his potential, he could be a steal as a late third-round pick and give the Chiefs a dynamic and explosive one-two punch out of the backfield. That said, the fact that he has not been a consistently productive back for more than two years made him look like a more likely Day 3 selection than on Day 2.

The best running back in the draft class coming off of injury in the class is South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore, and the healthy backs still on the board included UCLA's Johnathan Franklin and Clemson's Andre Ellington. Selecting Davis over them is a questionable move, but his upside does make him an intriguing, high-upside choice.

The Chiefs have yet to address their defensive needs, so selecting a running back in Round 3 seems to be a bit of a luxury, but this is a pick that will ultimately be graded on Davis' ability to stay healthy and show the same explosion he showed in his sophomore season.

Grade: B-