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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Isaiah Davis (RB – South Dakota State)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Isaiah Davis (RB – South Dakota State)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at South Dakota State running back Isaiah Davis.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Isaiah Davis

Isaiah Davis (RB – South Dakota State)

6’1″ – 220 lbs.

Background:

Isaiah Davis is a Missouri native who rushed for 96-818-10 (8.5) and 95-701-7 (7.4) behind eventual fourth-round pick Pierre Strong Jr. in 2020 and 2021. He then stepped into the lead-back role and totaled 249-1,451-15 (5.8) in 2022 and 236-1,578-18 (6.7) in 2023, as the Jackrabbits won the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) title in each of the past two seasons.

Positives:

Highly productive four-year contributor who’s been a workhorse for the past two seasons in the team’s gap-heavy rushing attack, which often runs up the middle out of pistol formations. Has the frame of a lead back with a rocked-up build. Makes clean cuts in the backfield. Plays with quick feet and some suddenness to his game. Works in a good stutter-step. Can be an effective one-cut runner with good vision to recognize and hits cutback lanes. Some ability to make the first defender miss or break a tackle in the backfield to salvage plays that would have otherwise ended in the backfield. Runs with good knee bend and gets through arm tackles with ease, showing good contact balance. Shows good competitiveness after contact to fight for yardage; thudding runner on contact to wear down defenses. Uses a nice stiff-arm out toward the sidelines. Ball security has been very good — just four career fumbles (including one on a reception.) Shows very good effort as a lead blocker in the run game. Pretty effective pass protector with the frame and functional strength teams look for. Good alertness and a sound base.

Negatives:

Has an occasional tendency to run into a wall of defenders on inside attempts — more patience may have allowed blocks to develop. May struggle to consistently win the edge on outside rushing attempts at the next level and doesn’t appear to have elite home-run-hitting speed. Hasn’t contributed much as a receiver; took a few snaps from the slot this year. Is basically a pure safety valve with seven drops against 53 catches with most of his targets coming at or behind the line of scrimmage. Dealt with an upper-body injury in 2021.

Summary:

A well-built, hard runner who carried the load for two championship teams over the past two seasons, showing the ability to grind out tough yardage between the tackles and also to function effectively as a one-cut runner. His impressive functional strength and contact balance, coupled with a physical style of play, allow him to run through arm tackles, deliver stiff arms toward the boundary and fight through contact for additional yardage. While he’s not the most dynamic receiver, he has the frame, strength and willingness to function effectively in blitz pickup. Looks like a mid-round selection for a gap-based rushing attack with a smashmouth identity.

Projection: Round 5

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