Green Bay Packers

Kentucky's Ray Davis Is the Best All-Around Fit For the Packers

Photo Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

In the last 10 years, the Green Bay Packers have only invested one top-125 NFL draft pick at the running back position. That was A.J. Dillon, who they took 62nd-overall in 2020. While most of this is due to the league-wide devaluing of the running back position, other teams have attacked the position earlier than the Packers. In the same 10-year period, the other 31 NFL teams drafted 93 running backs in the top-125 picks, or on average, three players in the same time frame than Green Bay drafted one. Simply put, the odds are that if the Packers take a running back it’s likely to happen in the fourth round at the earliest.

That type of draft philosophy aligns decently with the quality of this year’s running back class. According to NFL Mock Draft Database, there are 10 backs in the top 125 on the consensus big board. The top back is Jonathon Brooks, the 52nd-overall player. A team may not take a running back in the first two rounds, and teams could choose to hold their water on a sub-par overall class.

There are many enticing running backs in the middle rounds, but Kentucky’s Ray Davis is my favorite all-around fit for the Packers.

For one, Davis is a story worth rooting for. From being a ward of the state to living in a homeless shelter to bouncing around the foster care system, Davis had a lot of cards stacked against him growing up. I highly recommend checking out Zak Keefer’s full profile on Davis’ journey in The Athletic. The impression you’ll be left with is that Davis is made from the “right stuff.” Most importantly, he’s a good person who worked hard to get to where he is today. He has tremendous gratitude for the help people have offered him along the way. While he’ll most certainly be a fit in any locker room, Davis’ demeanor couldn’t help but make me think he’d thrive in a football and family-focused environment like Green Bay.

At the combine, Davis talked about “having to work 10 times harder” at many stages in his life, which has taught him that “You have to learn how to face adversity, whether you’re going to attack it head on or if you’re going to fold. I think every place I’ve been, I’ve had to keep fighting, keep scratching and clawing my way out of situations, having to adapt to new environments.”

Whether it be his backstory or working his way up the college football ladder from Temple to Baylor to Kentucky, Davis has worked for his opportunities to show what he’s made of. That type of tenacity and work ethic makes me feel confident that whatever team he ends up on, he’ll get the most out of his opportunity in the NFL.

Davis himself compared his game to that of Jaylen Warren and David Montgomery. Backs with thick frames, a low center of gravity, and the ability to catch patches, run with visit vision, and display more speed than expected. Davis wants to be that type of versatile back.

Let’s break it down.

With Josh Jacobs firmly entrenched as the lead back in Green Bay for the season, Davis likely wouldn’t be leaned on for most carries, so he’d need to show quality pass protection to be rotated in for two-back sets and as a change of pace on third down. Luckily, Davis possesses a willing mentality to attack his blocks.

Here’s a great example:

Pass-catching will also be essential for Davis, who had 33 catches for 323 yards for Kentucky in 2023. Davis displayed his pass-catching well at the Senior B. Here’s a good look at a one-handed catch he made downfield during practice:

Davis also showed his pass-catching on film. Davis tends to look the ball into his hands before turning upfield, catches well, and has shiftiness and the ability to one-cut defenders one-on-one. Here’s a great look from his dominant four touchdown, 289 all-purpose yard performance against Florida this past year:

As a pure running back, Davis shows outstanding vision and a good understanding of the leverage defenders take against him. Here’s a good view of him anticipating the hole developing and one-cutting a defender in the open field:

Davis is an all-around running back who may not possess an elite trait, but it’s hard not to envision him playing a productive role for an NFL team. The Packers have hosted him for a 30-visit to do due diligence on the player. They may be interested in drafting Davis on Day 3 of the draft, and they would be getting a quality player and person if they do so.

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