by Eric Stashin
I touched on him a bit in the TE rankings, but I wanted to take a deeper look at Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49′ers. Drafted in the first round of the 2006 draft, there was plenty of talk about he would be the next big tight end, but in his first two season, it just hasn’t happened.
His first season was cut short at 10 games thanks to a hairline fracture in his left leg. He mustered just 20 catches for 265 yards and 3 TD’s, certainly not numbers that justified him being a first round pick, let alone a player worth owning in fantasy leagues.
Last season, he again suffered an injury, this time missing 2 games due to a sprained knee. His stats were still much improved, catching 52 passes for 509 yards and 4 TD’s, but there certainly is plenty of room for improvement. He has all the talent in the world, and with Mike Martz now in as the offensive coordinator, this could be the season he finally realizes his potential.
As a young player coming out of the University of Maryland, I can’t say that anyone should be 100% surprised that he struggled to live up to expectations over his first two years. First of all, I think the expectations were a little bit lofty. People seemed to think he would walk onto the professional scene and produce the same types of numbers as the Tony Gonzalez’ of the world.
That just isn’t a fair expectation of anyone. Now, entering his third season, I have to believe that the time has come for him to begin developing into the player that people believe he can be. Exactly how high of a ceiling does he have? Honestly, I think the sky is the limit for him and wouldn’t be discouraged by the first two seasons he’s posted.
While you’re not going to put him in that top tier of TE’s quite yet, by season’s end, I’d be surprised if he isn’t knocking on the doorstep. Personally, I think it makes the most sense to grab him in the middle rounds of your draft, as opposed to drafting someone like Gonzalez or Jason Witten in the earlier rounds. You will get tremendous value for your pick, while also strengthening your other positions.
Prediction: 81 catches, 1,084 yards, 7 TD