So what exactly is a semi-rational irrational prediction? Well, it's irrational because there is very little new information that would make this a valid prediction. We all are hoping certain things happen, but it's a long season and considering we haven't reached training camp, who knows what will happen. I term it semi-rational though because I do have some sound reasoning for this prediction, or at least reasonably sound I guess. Feel free to create your own semi-rational irrational prediction, or just mock mine.
Vernon Davis finished 2007 with 52 receptions for 509 yards and 4 touchdowns. Those are respectable numbers for an anemic offense, but nothing to write home about. However, among the 47 NFL tight ends with at least 1 reception and/or 1 receiving yard, The Disease finished 4th in receptions, 6th in receiving yards and 6th in touchdowns. The tight ends ahead of him were the usual suspects, including Jason Witten, Chris Cooley and Jeremy Shockey.
Jason Witten finished with 96 receptions, 1,145 yards and 7 touchdowns. Chris Cooley finished with 66 receptions, 786 yards and 8 touchdowns. Jeremy Shockey finished with 57 receptions, 619 yards and 3 touchdowns.
In the new Mike Martz offense, Frank Gore is expected to have a big year in the Marshall Faulk role. We're all hoping Alex Smith/Shaun Hill is able to put up big numbers, or at least better than average. However, of all the offensive weapons, I think Vernon Davis is due to have the big breakout season. I remain completely convinced that Vernon Davis will soon be joining the continuing evolution of the tight end position with the likes of Antonio Gates.
Mike Martz has not used the tight end much in his offense, but he's never had a tight end that can match the rare combination of size and speed The Disease possesses. When Davis is lined up as a tight end, no linebacker can cover him. Check the video from the Bengals game last season where Davis made the linebacker look absolutely helpless on this touchdown catch (at the 1:15 mark and ignore the Limp Bizkit). At the same time, he is too big and physical for a corner or safety to cover him like normal.
While there are clearly several keys to the offense turning things around (o-line, QB, RB, WR, etc...), if this team makes the playoffs, Vernon Davis will have had a big year. There was a lot of discussion during OTAs about the installation of "hot reads." I think Davis will be one of the primary beneficiaries. Furthermore, I consider Davis more of a receiver than a tight end (even though he can fill both roles obviously). As such, drafted receivers often take 2 or 3 years before they make that leap in greatness. This is his 3rd year and I think the leap is at hand.
As far as what it will take to make it to the Pro Bowl? Well I'll give you this prediction and say that it will be sufficient to get him in. Davis will finish the season with 73 receptions, 805 yards and 7 touchdowns. Maybe it's a little irrational to think he'll make the leap, but I think there is some sound reasoning for that position.
So, let's open the floor. You're more than welcome to criticize or support my prediction, but I'd love to hear a single semi-rational irrational prediction from you folks. I'm sure there's one guy on the team that you just have a gut-feeling about how he'll do and want to shout it on the rooftops. So, let's hear it. And even better, I've created a separate section for this called Preview. So it'll be that much easier to find this wild and crazy predictions when the season comes to a close.