NAME: Ashtyn Davis
SCHOOL: University of California
Ashtyn Davis is a phenomenal athlete who appeared in 45 games at Cal but is still learning how to play football. Davis was a hurdler on the Golden Bears’ track team and walked on to the football team. He competed in both sports for the rest of his collegiate career, but he has an undeniable future as a professional football player. His athleticism could make him a late first-round pick, but he will likely be available when the Colts select (at either 34 or 44). If he falls into the third round, he could be the steal of the draft.
Befitting a conference champion hurdler, Davis has some wheels. He won the Pac-12 110-meter event in 2017, which was also the year he switched from cornerback to safety. On the gridiron, he is always a threat on the back end of a defense. Even if a quarterback believes he can zip a ball downfield, Davis is fast enough to break late and deflect or intercept a long throw.
The @CalFootball defense has catapulted to a new level, and Ashtyn Davis is at the forefront.
The Golden Bears’ safety nabbed two interceptions— one for a pick-six, and recorded 141 all-purpose yards.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) November 26, 2018
Special Teams Value
As is often the case with young and unheralded players, special teams served as a way for Davis to initially make a name for himself. He has experience returning kickoffs and was frequently one of the first players downfield to cover kicks. In fact, his Cal teammates and coaches named him special teams MVP in both 2016 and 2017. While he continues to hone his craft as a professional defensive back, Davis can make an immediate impact on special teams.
How can a player with 45 games under his belt still be considered inexperienced? Because until Gerald Alexander became his position coach in 2017, Davis simply used his speed to get by. Alexander, a former Detroit Lions second-round pick, showed Davis how to watch film, scout opposing offenses, and refine his technique. As a cornerback and special teamer, Davis never had to do anything but “out-athlete” his competition. At safety, he needs to understand what all 22 players are doing. Alexander is now the defensive backs coach for the Miami Dolphins, but Davis credits his former coach for vaulting his football career to the next level.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) July 9, 2019
Davis may be the athletic equivalent of Malik Hooker, if not a touch faster and more explosive. With Hooker in the fold at free safety and Khari Willis establishing himself as the starting strong safety, where does Davis fit? Well, Chris Ballard has not gone out of his way to praise Hooker, his first draft pick as the Colts’ general manager. And when asked in a recent teleconference about picking up the fifth-year option on Hooker’s rookie contract, Ballard said that the team would wait to see how things shake out in the draft before making their decision. They have until May 4th to do so. Even if they do retain Hooker, a team can never have too many good defensive backs. Davis’ athleticism, versatility, and special teams value make him a slam dunk as a Colts target. The only question is if he will be there when they pick.