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Niners Nation Scouting Report: Nate Davis, QB Ball State

While poking around the Internet yesterday, I came across a report that indicated that only the Indianapolis Colts sent a representative to the Ball State Pro Day. In their analysis of QB Nate Davis, the folks at Rotoworld say:

Davis never should've come out early. He was awful in the Cardinals' last two games and has seemed unprepared for pre-draft activities. He could be this year's version of Andre Woodson, assuming Davis is even drafted at all.

A draft comparison to Andre Woodson is definitely not a good thing for Davis. At one point last year, Andre Woodson was a projected first round pick. On draft day he ended up going late in the sixth round. Not a good thing.

Davis was a guy I was intrigued about most notably after reading Jason Whitlock last November actually refer to him as the best player in college football. The numbers do indicate a solid player:

2006 150 244 1975 61.5 8.09 81 18 8 13 147.25
2007 270 479 3667 56.4 7.66 77 30 6 26 138.84
2008 258 401 3591 64.3 8.96 61 26 8 14 156.97

It seemed like now was as good a time as any to take a look at Nate Davis. He's ranked 4th among QBs by Scouts Inc and in fact, it sounds like he performed well enough at his Pro Day. As that report indicates:

Davis completed 61 of the 70 passes he threw on drills that included short, medium and long tosses down the field. Five of the nine incompletions were drops by receivers.
. . .
Davis showed his trademark arm strength on many throws, the ball zipping into receivers' hands with a profound "thump." He also showed the classic touch he displayed during his career on high-arcing deep passes down the middle of the field.

Draft Tek currently projects Davis as a mid to late 4th round pick. I use them in large part because they're one of the few that makes complete 7-round projections. Just to give you an idea of how much things have changed for Davis, early in February, our very own Mocking the Draft was projecting him in the second.

From what I've surmised, the big problems for Nate Davis are his size, as he is listed at 6'1 3/4 and running a 4.97 40, even though he was a mobile QB at Ball State. I'm not sure I buy into the size argument. While he's not a huge specimen, he's as tall or taller than several successful QBs including Drew Brees and Jeff Garcia. He's only a fraction shorter than guys like Kurt Warner and Brett Favre.

As far as the speed is concerned, he was playing against slightly less than stellar competition, so maybe the athletes couldn't quite track him down. However, it seems like he's more mobile than fast, which is all I'm really concerned about. Scouts Inc actually ranked his mobility as exceptional:

Athletic playmaker. Displays quick feet on drops. Will consistently buy extra time with scrambling ability. Is a threat to run on occasion but is a passer first, runner second. Can throw accurately on the run to both sides.

Some folks have started making comparisons to Joe Flacco as a guy who won't be the first guy taken but could still make an impact.

So, do people view Nate Davis as a guy who could be somebody this team could develop over the next couple years and turn into the QB of the future? Because let's be honest: we're not looking to draft a QB that won't be a long term answer. The question is whether this guy could fit that role.