Davis impresses coaches on special teams
GREEN BAY - Shortly after the Green Bay Packers drafted Trevor Davis, director of football operations Eliot Wolf stood behind a lectern and spoke effusively about the speed of the wide receiver from California. Davis, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds and caught the eyes of the Packers with his dual-threat ability as both receiver and returner.
As the Packers entered their mandatory minicamp this week, the early returns on Davis reinforce the idea that special teams will be an integral part of his role. But, according to special teams coordinator Ron Zook, the specifics of his contributions are more wide-ranging than originally expected.
"It’s been impressive watching what he’s done not only as a returner," Zook said after Tuesday's practice. "He’s come in and we’ve really worked him as a gunner, for example, on the punt team and as a corner holding up and (on the) kickoff team covering. I’ve been very, very pleased with what we’ve seen in the shorts so far. I think there’s no reason for me to believe he’s not going to be a guy that’s going to be able to contribute more than just as a returner."
The broadening of Davis' repertoire mirrors the development of Jeff Janis, Quinten Rollins and Demetri Goodson, three players who have emerged as special teams threats on the outside.
Janis, who is entering his third season, found consistent playing time as an unblockable gunner last season, finishing the year with a team-high 11 special teams tackles. Rollins, who just completed his rookie campaign, often played opposite Janis and tallied 4 special teams tackles of his own.
Goodson, meanwhile, has been a core special teamer in each of his first two years in the league and tied Rollins with 4 tackles.
"Special teams is just as big as offense," Davis said. "You need to go out there and know what you’re doing. ... Just special teams in total I like."
Though Zook has deployed Davis all over the field, the rookie remains in the thick of competition for both return spots as well. His speed is his best commodity, and it's a huge reason why the Packers chose to invest.
Now they're just applying it in as many places as they can.
"He's done everything that you would think he would do," Zook said. "(Assistant special teams coach) Jason Simmons and I were talking about it: We can’t coach 4.3 (speed); 4.3 is 4.3. That’s fast. But when you get out there, will he run through the smoke? That makes a big difference. There’s no reason for me to think that he won’t do that."