Ray Davis will bring versatile pass-catch profile to NFL offense

On3 imageby:Adam Luckett03/01/24


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Expectations were high for Vanderbilt transfer Ray Davis. Kentucky was plugging the 1,000-yard SEC rusher into the lineup for sixth-round pick and former All-SEC performer Chris Rodriguez Jr. in Lexington. The offense was making a transition and the Wildcats were going to need a high volume workload from the redshirt senior.

Davis became the Kentucky program’s latest 1,000-yard rusher and was one of the most explosive tailbacks in college football ranking No. 9 overall with nine rushes of 30-plus yards. The Vandy transfer was dependable rusher, but his two-way skill set caught many by surprise.

Ray Davis scored 21 total touchdowns in 2023 and accumulated 1,446 yards from scrimmage and the pass game production had a ton to do with that. Davis finished the season with 33 receptions on 40 targets (82.5% catch rate) with seven explosive receptions. The tailback was used heavily in the screen game, was a valuable check down option, and made plays on wheel routes. Entering a league that needs tailbacks to bring two-way versatility to the lineup, Davis wants to show teams he can be an asset in the throw game.

Davis informed the media in Indianapolis that folks at the Senior Bowl “were shocked” at his hands in the passing game.

Ray Davis also went on record to report that the Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had formal meetings at the combine with the tailback prospect. In those formal and informal interviews with franchises, Davis wants to let the personnel and coaching staffs know that he can bolster the passing game.

“Showcasing I can catch. Showcasing I can run routes. I can be more than a quote, unquote this ‘third down back’. And just pass pro. Just showing I can do it all and I can be a guy on third-and-long who you can split out wide in the slot or even the No. 1 route position,” Davis told KSR on Friday when asked about his passing game value. “Or even just being in the backfield and having to go against a linebacker in man-to-man.”

At Kentucky, Davis proved that he could be a key weapon outside of the run game. The veteran was a valuable red zone weapon and release valve for the quarterback when pressure in the pocket heated up. That production in a pro-style offense should translate well to the next level.

“I think Coach [Liam] Coen really did show that this year with a lot of the screens that we did. Putting me in space and having me go against these linebackers. So just continue to show that I can be a versatile asset in the pass game.”

Ray Davis appears to be a top-10 running back prospect in this draft class and his two-way versatility is a major reason why.

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