No Auburn players are expected to have a first-round selection in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft, but Carlton Davis just might crash the party.
The former Tigers cornerback is a name on the rise with just a few weeks left before the draft, according to Bucky Brooks of the NFL Network.
“There’s a lot of buzz on Carlton Davis,” Brooks said Wednesday in a media call. “I know there’s a lot of defensive back coaches that are high on him.”
Davis started 32 games in three seasons at Auburn, and he landed some first-team All-American and All-SEC honors during his final campaign on the Plains in 2017. Standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing more than 200 pounds, Davis has the physical gifts that NFL personnel love at the next level.
“They love his size, his toughness, his grit, the ways he plays the position on the island,” Brooks said. “And so anytime you can find bigger corners that can move in transition and kind of give you the toughness and tackling that you see from him on the edge, you like that.”
Fellow NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah graded Davis as a late second-round pick. Jeremiah said Davis was a little “leggy” at times, not transitioning as well as smaller cornerbacks in the class.
However, he said he wouldn’t be “totally shocked” if the Auburn defensive back jumped into late first-round, early second-round territory.
“You watch him against Georgia in their first meeting, I mean, you can see him press the wide receiver straight out of bounds,” Jeremiah said. “He did it on multiple occasions, so he is physical up there in press. He can run. I thought he played a little bit faster than he timed.”
At NFL.com, Davis is projected as an “instant starter” in the league as a second-round pick, and he has the NFL comparison of 3-time first-team All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman.
“He’s big, he’s tough,” Jeremiah said. “I think he’s going to go in the top 40 just because of position, and it wouldn’t shock me if at the end of the day, a press corner team snuck him into the bottom of the first round.”
In addition to his size and speed, Brooks said Davis has developed some buzz with his mindset on the field. At Auburn, he developed a reputation for being physical, and he turned into one of the best all-around defensive backs in the SEC.
That attribute could cause a team to pick Davis higher than most project, including Brooks and Jeremiah.
“For me, I like just the competitive nature that he displays on the field,” Brooks said. “I think he has a chance. I don’t think he sneaks into the bottom of the first round, but I think he is a top of the second, middle of the second round player. I think somewhere in the top 50 he hears his name called.”