At the end of the season, the Jets signed several players to futures contracts for the 2021 season. We’ve been taking an in-depth look at the strengths and weaknesses for each of them over the past few weeks, continuing today with tight end Connor Davis.
The 26-year old is listed at 6’8” and 260 pounds and was undrafted out of Stony Brook in 2018. He has never played in the NFL before in regular season or preseason action, but he has played in the AAF and XFL.
Davis, a native of Maryland, played football and basketball and ran track in high school but he opted to concentrate on football in his senior year and was an ESPN small school first team all-state selection. Playing on both sides of the ball, Davis racked up 235 receiving yards and five touchdowns as well as 117 tackles and 12 sacks.
He opted to attend Stony Brook, where he redshirted his first season in 2012. In 2013, he made his debut, playing mostly as a reserve tight end, but he also played on the defensive line, recording one sack.
In 2014, he got his first career start at defensive end, but suffered a season ending injury in the second game of the year. He ended up with just two tackles.
He made his return in 2015, moving to right tackle, where he started 10 games. However, in 2016, he moved back to tight end, where he caught his first career pass. He started one game on the defensive line, recording three tackles including one for a loss.
Finally, in his senior year, he was able to concentrate on one position, as he played 11 games at tight end. He caught five passes for 38 yards.
After going unselected in the 2018 draft, Davis had a minicamp tryout with the Giants but was unable to earn himself a contract. He played two games for the AAF’s Birmingham Iron in 2019 and one game for the XFL’s St. Louis Battlehawks in 2020.
The Jets briefly signed Davis during training camp but he only lasted a few days. They later signed him to their practice squad in November and then to a futures deal after the season. He was not elevated for any games in 2020.
Let’s move onto some more in-depth analysis of what Davis brings to the table, based on in-depth research and film study.
Davis is tall and long at 6’8” and weighed in at 254 for his pro day workout, although he has been as high as 276 and is currently listed at 260. During that workout he ran a 4.81 in the 40-yard dash, did 17 bench press reps and posted disappointing explosiveness and agility numbers.
However, he’s since got himself in much better shape, improving his vertical jump to 33 inches, his broad jump to 10 feet and his bench press to 21 reps.
While the Jets list Davis as a tight end, it’s well worth noting that he has also played offensive line and defensive line during his college career.
Even when he plays tight end, he’ll often line up in the slot or in the backfield. In addition, he played some snaps as an off the ball linebacker when he was a defensive lineman.
In his one XFL appearance, Davis underlined his versatility by playing snaps at tight end, fullback, left tackle, right tackle and in the slot, although those tackle reps were in unbalanced formations with the two tackles next to one another on the opposite side.
Davis doesn’t have much pass catching experience since high school. He played in a run-heavy system at Stony Brook and caught just six passes for 41 yards in his entire college career. Since that time, he caught three passes for nine yards in two AAF games and wasn’t targeted in his lone XFL appearance.
This was probably his best moment, as he made a nice catch on a crossing route for a third down conversion.
He’s yet to show much in the way of route running or ability after the catch and hasn’t scored any touchdowns since high school so he hasn’t established himself as a red zone threat in spite of his size. His longest catch at the college level was 15 yards.
In the AAF and XFL games, he was mostly used on underneath crossing routes, but he also dropped this pass in traffic going down the seam.
As you’d expect from someone who started at tackle for a year in college, Davis is more of a blocking specialist. His technique can be a little shaky at times, but he uses his size well and can get some traction to drive his man back.
On this play, he fails to maintain his balance but does do a good job of moving his body position to ensure he has inside leverage to keep his man sealed to the outside.
Davis (wearing #89) shows an ability to block on the move here, working well in tandem with the left tackle on a zone blocking assignment to create a lane for the running back to pick up the first down.
However, he lunges after his man here, as he whiffs at the point of attack and cannot recover to prevent the run from being blown up for a big loss.
Davis was employed in pass protection at times by the Battlehawks and the Iron, but he had a few negative plays. On this one, he gets disrupted and isn’t able to get over in time to prevent the sack.
This is a similar assignment, but while he gets into position this time, he gets his angles wrong and his man gains an outside leverage advantage. This pressure led to an interception and a long return to down near the goal line.
Davis hasn’t contributed much on special teams, mostly just blocking on the placekicking unit. In the XFL, they also used him to block on the kickoff return unit. You’ll recall that the XFL were experimenting with some rule changes. On this play, Davis - the third player from the bottom - lets his man shed his block and get in on the tackle.
In his redshirt freshman season at Stony Brook, Davis fielded two kickoffs for seven yards and in high school he blocked a punt.
Davis claims to read the defense well and has had the advantage of playing multiple positions over the course of his career.
He displays some good reactions here to find someone to block in space on the screen pass to set up a big gain.
In one of his AAF appearances, Davis had a mental error as he was called for a false start.
Davis is obviously someone who spends a lot of time in the gym working on his strength and conditioning and he’s also clearly a team player judging by the number of times he changed positions prior to his senior year.
He prides himself on giving a relentless effort and looking for work as a blocker, showing visible frustration with himself when he makes a mistake.
Davis twice suffered season-ending knee injuries during his college career, including in 2014 when he only played two games.
In the XFL he was inactive for three games but that was as a healthy scratch on each occasion.
As noted, Davis played in a run-first system at Stony Brook and lacks experience as a pass catching threat. However, the Jets may see some potential in him based on his combination of size and athletic ability.
His main competition for a roster spot is probably Trevon Wesco because each of them offers more in terms of their blocking, but Wesco has been underwhelming in his first two seasons, so perhaps Davis can develop quickly to push him for opportunities.
That’s assuming, of course, that the Jets see his future as being at the tight end position.
Davis is a local kid and already 26, so he doesn’t have much time left considering the fact that he’s clearly a developmental prospect.
Ultimately, he could just be considered a likely camp body, but if injuries allow him opportunities to contribute in preseason or get back onto the practice squad, then perhaps he could be a late developer.