As he attempts to make the 53-man roster as a sixth-round rookie, Robert Davis is taking advantage of his physical assets while showing a willingness to do a little bit of everything.
While he comes from a much smaller school with little proven success in Division I-A action, Washington Redskins wide receiver Robert Davis drew comparisons to former University of Alabama superstar and current Atlanta Falcons All-Pro Julio Jones coming out of the NFL Combine.
Davis – 6-foot-3, 217 pounds – ran a similar 40-yard dash time (4.44) to Jones (4.42) while having nearly identical broad jump and 20-yard shuffle marks.
But the comparisons for the most part stopped there, at least entering the NFL, as the Falcons packaged together five draft picks to move up just two spots in the 2011 NFL Draft to take Jones. As for Davis, he wasn't taken until the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the 24th wide receiver off the board.
Now in a crowded room with the Washington Redskins, Davis faces stiff competition to claim one of the active roster spots after the cutdown from 90 players to 53.
But so far the Georgia State product has impressed head coach Jay Gruden, not just with his playmaking abilities as a pass catcher but also in his blocking abilities.
"Robert has done some good things, not just catching the ball but blocking," Gruden said. "I've been impressed with him. We're trying to run the ball. Any time you want to be a physical, running football team, you have to have physical receivers to go in there and block safeties from time to time, sometimes even linebackers. Robert has proven he can do that. He's not afraid, that's for sure.
"He's pancaked a couple guys already so that's what caught my eye so far. Then he's making his mark on special teams; he's getting better on special teams. The other day he had a nice long touchdown catch from Colt [McCoy] and he's doing good things in the passing game. Mentally, it's all got to start to slow down for him but he's getting there. He's a big, physical, talented kid that we like."
On the touchdown reception from McCoy, the quarterback tossed up a ball to Davis who showcased his speed to outgun third-year cornerback Quinton Dunbar for the long reception.
Davis has also flashed an ability to be a red zone threat, catching a few fade route touchdowns during 1-on-1 drills.
On Saturday, April 29, 2017, the Washington Redskins selected wide receiver Robert Davis with the 209th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The next few weeks will determine if Davis can claim one of the final wide receiver spots on the active roster behind Terrelle Pryor Sr., Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder.
Davis was the most productive wide receiver in Georgia State's history, as he's the Panthers' all-time leader in receptions (222) and receiving yards (3,391), which also ranks second in Sun Belt Conference history behind only T.Y. Hilton.
Key to Davis' potential addition to the active roster will be his ability to learn every wide receiver position along with being a special teams contributor.
The 22-year-old is confident that won't be an issue.
"All I can say is I'm a football player," Davis said earlier this year. "I don't even consider myself as just a wide receiver. I consider myself a football player. I feel like I can go out there and make plays on special teams. I'm willing to block. I went to a triple option high school, where that was the only thing we did. I only caught eight passes my high school career. I mean, blocking was what I did, and I am a skilled blocker. I'm a physical guy and I'm a guy who's willing to go out there and compete."