There is no doubt in my mind that San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis is the best all around tight-end in the NFL today. A player that excels at blocking, receiving, and running after the catch, Davis has been one of the staples to the 49ers offense. During his seven year career, Davis' career has been a roller coaster ride. In 2009, Davis led all NFL tight-ends in touchdowns (13), while ranking No. 28 in receptions in 2012. The volatile receiving stats from one season to the next, don't tell the whole story, as Davis has become the best blocking tight-end in the game. And while many of Davis' peers believe him to be a top flight receiving threat, evident by being ranked No. 38 on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2013, the 49ers have seldomly used his services there. However, 2013 will no doubt be a different story.
With WR Michael Crabtree out indefinitely with a torn achilles, and WR Mario Manningham nursing a bum knee, Davis' skill set in the passing game will surely be needed. And although he has been working with the wide receivers in training camp, do not expect him to fill that role, as he is just simply working on his route running. With that said, the 6-foot-3, 250 pound freak of nature, however, will likely be targeted in red zone opportunities. Not many cornerbacks are big enough to out position Davis, and no safety is fast enough to stay stride for stride with him, making him a perfect red zone option. And with rookie second-round pick TE Vance McDonald coming along as a pass blocker, it's becoming more evident that when in multiple tight-end sets, Davis will benefit in the passing game.
In addition to Davis' big body frame, he also has the speed to run after the catch. In 2012, Davis made the most of his opportunities, as he ranked tied for second of all NFL tight-ends in receptions of over 20 yards with 12. A true gamer, Davis has the speed to breakaway from smaller defensive backs, while possessing the speed to separate from the linebackers. Simply a defensive coordinator's worse nightmare.
With the 2013 season upon us, look for Davis to regain his Pro Bowl form, as I predict him to have around 60 catches for 900 yards and nine touchdowns.
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