San Jose Mercury News
Today, San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis has evolved into one of the best tight-ends in the game. He can catch and block, two traits needed to be a polished tight-end, and Davis excels at both. A player that is sometimes overshadowed by some of his teammates, like LB Patrick Willis, QB Colin Kaepernick, and RB Frank Gore, Davis is just as important to the 49ers franchise.
A signature play in the 2012 NFC Divisional Championship game, Davis made one of the best plays in NFL playoff history, by hauling in a 14-yard touchdown pass from QB Alex Smith on third and three. A play that would go down as one of the best plays ever witnessed at historic Candlestick Park, Davis would later nickname the catch as “the grab,” as he said:
You’ve got to call it “The Grab.” We were down. I had to make it happen, to take my teammates where we want to go.
The seven-year veteran has been making big plays throughout his whole career and was voted by his peers as one of the top 100 Players of 2013, coming in at No. 38. An improvement from last season as Davis was ranked No. 43, the Maryland product continues to show why he is the best all-around tight-end in the game. Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman who ranked No. 50 on the countdown spoke on Davis’ all-around ability, saying:
He’s a threat. Unlike some of the other tight-ends out there, if you give this kid the ball, when he’s got a head of steam, it’s going to be tough to catch him. From the slowest d-lineman to the fastest corner, it’s going to be tough for anybody to catch him. I didn’t notice that until we played them last year. They were in like a three tight-end set, and I’m trying to judge it, Alex Smith cocked back and launched it. I’m like what’s going on? I turn around and Vernon Davis is about 15 yards ahead running, and I’m like goodness. Showed my respect for him in a split-second.
Aside from gaining the respect of his peers, Davis has shined brightest on the game’s biggest stage. In five career playoff games, Davis has amassed five touchdown receptions while averaging 109 receiving yards per game. A true gamer, Davis is out to prove he is one of the all-time greats, and I believe this is the year. With 49ers WR Michael Crabtree out with a torn achilles, offensive coordinator Greg Roman known to the players as G-Ro, should be incorporating Davis’ more in a pass-catching role. And with the addition of second-round pick TE Vance McDonald, Davis will surely be used as the focal point in multiple tight-end sets.
With the 2013 season on the rise, look for Davis to have one of his best seasons yet, as I predict him to have a stat line of around 60 catches, 900 yards and nine touchdowns, while being named to his second Pro Bowl.
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