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this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; As a safety net, take instinct over speed Story Tools: Print Email XML Dan Pompei / Posted: 4 days ago If you want to move Georgia safety and projected first-round draft choice Thomas Davis to outside linebacker, be my guest. ...

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Old 03-11-2005, 02:16 PM   #11
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LB Thomas Davis

As a safety net, take instinct over speed
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Dan Pompei /
Posted: 4 days ago




If you want to move Georgia safety and projected first-round draft choice Thomas Davis to outside linebacker, be my guest. But don\'t do it because he ran a 4.65 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Safeties can make up for whatever they lack in timed speed, probably better than players at any other position. In fact, a slower safety might get to the ball more quickly than a faster one -- if he has a feel for angles, his opponent, the offensive play and the defensive call. It\'s all about \"mental speed,\" as scouts call it.


Look at UCLA safety Ben Emanuel. He ran a 4.56 40, which didn\'t exactly char the AstroTurf in the RCA Dome during the Combine. But he gets to where he needs to be consistently because his play is elevated by instinct. \"Some people see differently than others,\" Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau says. \"Those type of individuals tend to perform beyond their statistical data. There are a lot of different angles and visual cues they\'re getting every time they snap the ball. It\'s a stimulus response, and some people just do it better than others.\"


Of course, the team that takes Emanuel shouldn\'t ask him to play man-to-man against Marvin Harrison. Emanuel would be best as a strong safety who plays near the line. \"I don\'t want to see a safety run 5 flat, but the reality is there are 5-flat safeties in our league who play OK,\" Lions president Matt Millen says. \"You just have to know where to put them, how to play them.\"


Davis, a violent hitter who shows no regard for his body, will be an outstanding run stuffer. But he is a sucker for play-action and gets caught peeking into the backfield. He is as lost in a zone as a hillbilly in Manhattan. \"He\'s made more mental mistakes and instinctive mistakes than anyone I\'ve ever scouted,\" says one executive who has been in the business for nearly a quarter-century.


When he came out of Stanford, John Lynch ran a 4.64 40. When he came out of Syracuse, Tebucky Jones ran a 4.40 40. But Lynch is a future Hall of Famer and Jones is a middle-of-the-road performer because Lynch feels the game the way Ray Charles felt the music and Jones doesn\'t. Jones could beat Lynch on a track all day long, but he probably wouldn\'t beat him to the football twice in 100 snaps. Players such as Lynch who lack top-end speed often have superior body control.


Yet these safeties are widely considered \"flawed,\" and their draft stocks tend to slip. Twenty-one of the 64 starting safeties in the NFL last season were not first-day draft picks. Mike Green, a three-year starter for the Bears, was Mr. Irrelevant -- the last pick in the 2000 draft. Rodney Harrison, one of the best safeties of this generation, was a fifth-round pick.


In recent years, more has been demanded of safeties from a coverage standpoint as offenses have learned to isolate and attack them with fleet tight ends and shifty receivers. Titans coach Jeff Fisher says teams are looking for more athletic, faster safeties these days. That\'s why we\'ve seen an increase in the number of cornerback-safety \'tweeners playing safety, such as Minnesota\'s Corey Chavous, New England\'s Eugene Wilson and Tampa Bay\'s Dwight Smith.


But instincts can help safeties in coverage as much as speed. \"With the way the tight end position has evolved, tight ends are like receivers, so the safety position requires being able to play in space, being able to understand what\'s going on around you,\" Steelers coach Bill Cowher says. \"It\'s not just running straight ahead. You better have a feel for the running game, a feel for the passing game.\"


If you can acquire a safety who has both speed and instinct, like Cowher has in Troy Polamalu, you are living a dream. If you have to choose, bet on instinct.


Senior writer Dan Pompei covers the NFL for Sporting News. Email him at pompei@sportingnews.com.

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Old 03-11-2005, 02:34 PM   #12
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LB Thomas Davis

I feel the same way, I rather have a tweener who can create some turnovers also. Davis is a hitter, not a cover guy. If they chose to make him a linebacker fine... it\'s going to take time. Are we willing to do that or do we want to win now? That\'s why a guy like Antrel Rolle looks ever so much more tempting. I hope this guys drops because he\'s going to be a star. I\'m not saying Davis isn\'t going to be one, it\'s just that I don\'t think he has the intangibles.

Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

All little common sense goes a long way.
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Old 03-11-2005, 02:35 PM   #13
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LB Thomas Davis

Pros: Great size and range, very strong. Solid tackler, great for run support. Best S available in draft by far.
Cons: Not too many picks, still developing at the spot.
Draft Exchange Analysis:
High School: Randolph-Clay... Class AA All-State Honorable Mention by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution....Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AA All-State Honorable Mention... Team MVP as a senior...played running back, quarterback, defensive end, defensive back, wide receiver, punter, kicker, and kick returner at various times throughout his career...rushed for 1,032 yards as a senior...averaged 30 yards a reception as a junior....holds school record for touchdowns scored in a game with five...averaged 30 yards a punt...led region in scoring as a senior with 108 points in the regular season...had two kickoff returns, one punt return, and one fumble return for touchdowns...also played baseball and ran track...qualified for the state meet in the 100 meters...High School Coach: Jim McFather.

College: 2001 -- Redshirted.....

2002 -- Recorded four tackles, one tackle-for-loss, forced one fumble, and recovered one fumble in annual spring G-Day game.....recipient of spring award as the Best Tackler....listed as number two FS at conclusion of spring drills....played in all 14 games including four starts at FS and SLB.....recovered fumble to end final S.C. scoring threat inside 5-yard line and intercepted pass to stop Alabama\'s last possession to preserve both victories.....recorded two QB sacks in Nokia Sugar Bowl victory over FSU....member of team that won Georgia\'s first SEC championship in 20 years, defeated FSU for Nokia Sugar Bowl title, set school record for most victories in a season (13), and finished with a final national ranking of No. 3......part of defense that finished first in the SEC and fourth nationally in Scoring Defense (15.1 ppg), first in the SEC in Red Zone Defense (58.8%), second in the SEC and 19th nationally in Rushing Defense (114.0 ypg), fourth in the SEC and 15th nationally in Total Defense (303.5 ypg), and allowed only 30 total second half points in the final seven games of the season....blocked a punt against New Mexico State......

2003 -- Officially moved to SLB during spring and recorded 10 tackles and two QB sacks in annual Spring G-Day game....listed as number one SLB at conclusion of spring drills... moved back to FS during pre-season when Kentrell Curry was lost for the season with an injury.... responded with 130 total tackles--tops on the team....perhaps Georgia\'s most active player recording statistics in interceptions, blocked kicks, caused fumbles, fumble recoveries, and fumble returns....was named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week after leading the Bulldog defense with a career-high 11 tackles (8 solo and 3 assists) against Clemson.....17 career starts......recipient of Iron Man Award which is presented to a player who \"shows up every day for work, never late, and strains his potential in every endeavor\"......named second team All-American by The Sporting News...named All-SEC first team by The Associated Press, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and TheInsiders.com and All-SEC second team by the SEC Coaches.....Part of Georgia team that won 32 games from 2001-03, ranked among the top five teams nationally in winning percentage, and part of a Georgia defense that ranked 2nd nationally in Scoring Defense (14.5 ppg), 4th in Total Defense (276.86 ypg), 6th in Passing Defense (174.50 ypg),14th nationally in Turnover Margin (+.79), and 4th in number of scoreless quarters (25) among the AP\'s final Top Ten teams.

2004 -- Outstanding spring winning award as the team\'s Best Tackler....Thorpe and Nagurski Award candidate..... named to the pre-season watch list for the 2004 Jim Thorpe Award... Led the team with seven tackles, five solo and one for a loss of four yards, and forced two fumbles vs. LSU...led team with seven tackles, including a sack for a loss of four yards against Marshall...posted team-leading nine tackles including six solo stops at South Carolina...tied career-high with 11 tackles vs. Georgia Southern including seven solo stops...made one interception.

Major: Consumer Economics.
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Old 03-11-2005, 02:45 PM   #14
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LB Thomas Davis

I trust the Sporting News more than any other publication out on the market.

LordofEntropy- Darren Howard does not like your new avatar
<-----he\'s getting angry.....
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Old 03-11-2005, 02:50 PM   #15
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LB Thomas Davis

it llooks like the sporting news says stay awsay from davis.
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Old 03-11-2005, 02:53 PM   #16
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LB Thomas Davis

Interesting. Doesn\'t negate the fact that I loved watching his play, over the past few years.
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Old 03-11-2005, 02:56 PM   #17
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LB Thomas Davis

does anyone have the premium access to show what they think our second rounder will be?
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Old 03-11-2005, 03:08 PM   #18
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LB Thomas Davis

Darren Howard does not like your new avatar
<-----he\'s getting angry.....
Is that who that is? Of course I know Howard is 93, but I never thought that looked like him. He\'s lighter than that pic looks, and there\'s no cornrows. Always wondered.

Yeah, I laughed out loud when I ran across this one. I figured it had to use it, in recognition of my \'vast football savvy\'. Even Halo laughed.
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