On Tuesday, the NFL's scouting combine officially started in Indianapolis and over the next few days, college players hoping to turn pro will try to show that they are able to take the next step and willing to do what is necessary to improve at the next level. While it is only one piece of the puzzle, the combine can change how a team's scouts view a certain prospect and by extension will have an impact on draft boards across the league.
It also will have an impact – even more so – on mock drafts. A player that is rated highly this week could drop significantly next if his workout numbers are worse than expected. It will therefore be interesting to see who Mocking the Draft's Dan Kadar will give the New England Patriots next week after this week's version has the team picking Auburn cornerback Carlton Davis with its first round selection:
31. New England Patriots: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
Whether it’s with this choice, or their pick in the 40s, the Patriots need to bring in a good cornerback this offseason. Davis is an aggressive corner who doesn’t mind fighting wide receivers at the line of scrimmage.
The 21-year old Davis was a three-year starter at Auburn and was named second-team All American in 2017. Playing in the best defensive conference in all of college football, the 6’1, 205 lbs cornerback registered 29 defended passes and four interceptions over the course of his career. He also added three forced fumbles, 4.5 tackles for loss and a half-sack during his three years in college.
Davis, who appears to be best suited to play in a man-to-man coverage scheme has proven himself a physical cornerback at the point of attack that also is sound when it comes to tackling in the open field. As such, he would be a nice replacement in case free agent Malcolm Butler, as expected, leaves New England in a few weeks.
If drafted by the Patriots, Davis has the skill-set to take over Butler's old role as the perimeter cornerback opposite number one Stephon Gilmore or play as an slot option in three-plus cornerback sets. The rookie would fight for playing time against Eric Rowe as well as fellow Auburn-alum Jonathan Jones and Cyrus Jones – both coming off season-ending injuries.