Isaiah Davis’ Draft Profile | South Dakota State, RB Scouting Report

What does South Dakota State RB Isaiah Davis bring to the table with his 2024 NFL Draft scouting report? Can he become a starter at the professional level?

South Dakota State has one of the more intriguing prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft with RB Isaiah Davis. With his scouting report, where does Davis grade out, and does he have the profile to be an NFL starter in time?

Isaiah Davis Draft Profile and Measurements

  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 220 pounds
  • Position: Running Back
  • School: South Dakota State
  • Current Year: Senior

Some people are just born to run the football. Davis can confidently say he falls under that category.

As far back as his days at Joplin High School in Joplin, Missouri, Davis has been a truly elite producer on the ground. As a senior at Joplin, Davis rushed for 2,283 yards and 45 touchdowns on just 253 carries. That’s over nine yards per carry and averages out to a touchdown every 5.6 attempts.

Davis joined the Jackrabbits during the COVID-delayed spring season in 2020 and 2021. He wasted no time becoming an asset in the Jackrabbits’ RB room alongside future NFL back Pierre Strong Jr.

As a true freshman, Davis amassed 96 carries for 818 yards and 10 touchdowns. A year later, despite only playing seven games, he was able to accrue 95 carries for 701 yards and seven scores, maintaining his truly absurd per-carry averages.

Davis’ best years, however, came last. In 2021, he racked up 1,451 yards and 15 touchdowns on 249 carries. A year later, he added on 220 carries for 1,491 yards and 17 scores — while catching 43 passes for 369 yards and a touchdown over that two-year stretch.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Running Back Rankings

All told, in 45 career games, Davis has stockpiled 4,461 yards and 49 touchdowns, while averaging almost seven yards per attempt. The production is absurd, and the efficiency is unheard of over such a long stretch.

But for Davis, it’s just another day in the office. That’s why he’s fielded an invite to the East-West Shrine Bowl, and why his NFL future is right on the doorstep.

Davis’ Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Burly, compactly built ball carrier with exceptional mass and play strength.
  • Fairly explosive runner with good acceleration, generating easy second-level momentum.
  • Able to use one-cut agility and snappy footwork to redirect attack angles and find space.
  • With short-area energy and malleability, can stack quick cuts and snake through crowds.
  • Quick feet and strides allow him to glide into open lanes with decisiveness on zone runs.
  • Showcases a good mix of patience and discipline as a zone runner, and can get skinny.
  • Has exceptional layered first and second-level vision and processing ability inside OTs.
  • Shows off strong creative instincts in space, using euros and crossovers to offset DBs.
  • Attacks holes when he sees them and can use long gallop-steps to seep through spaces.
  • Able to use quick-tempo shuffle-steps to manage his gap alignment before committing.
  • Flashes impressive spatial awareness and improvisation, clearing contact off exchanges.
  • Absorbs solo hits with midsection and pries through arm tackles with grating strength.
  • Relentless second-level competitor with the urgent, powerful leg churn to finish forward.
  • Has quantifiably elite contact balance and contact absorption ability, magnified by edge.
  • Has a functional route tree out of the backfield and has improved his hand technique.

Weaknesses

  • First-step explosiveness attacking upfield, while exceptional, is not elite.
  • Doesn’t have elite hip flexibility and change of direction, and can be stiff on transitions.
  • Visibly lacks elite boundary speed and doesn’t trust himself to turn the corner outside.
  • Maxes out very quickly when tracking vertically and is not a home-run threat in space.
  • At times goes on autopilot, moving vertically, forgoing open cutback lanes for congestion.
  • Occasionally tries to do too much as a creator, flattening to the sideline and losing time.
  • Sometimes runs too upright with his pads at the second level, losing leverage at contact.
  • Is prone to occasional focus drops in open space when attempting to corral RAC passes.
  • Was not often relied upon as a pass blocker on third downs.
  • Missed half of the 2021 season with a shoulder injury.

Current Draft Projection and Summary

Davis grades out as an early Day 3 prospect on my board, who could feasibly enter top-100 range with a good offseason showing. Davis might not have the most passing-down utility among his 2024 NFL Draft counterparts, but he’s one of the most prolific early-down backs in the class, and his style translates.

One of the biggest knocks on Davis is that he doesn’t have elite athleticism. His explosiveness, while solid, is only that, and he has average long speed in space.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Big Board

However, Davis compensates with his short-area energy, snappy feet, and impressive creative freedom for his size. He’s also just as impressive on the attack.

At around 6’0″, 220 pounds, Davis has an extremely dense frame, with excellent play strength. He also brings elite contact balance and forward-pressing physicality at the second level.

Davis can bounce off tackles and grate out tough yards, but he’s just as good at creating space for himself. His passable athletic foundation is emboldened by his quick processing ability, vision, and improvisational instincts in the backfield.

He’s a runner who can snake through narrow spaces with his footwork and vision, then finish runs as a hammer, exploding ahead.


Davis’ lack of long speed may hurt him on some teams’ boards, and there’s also some uncertainty with his passing-down projection. He’s quietly a good route runner who’s improved his hands, but Davis has never had high-level volume as a receiver. He’s also not a proven pass blocker, either.

Nevertheless, as a quality early-down back with visible receiving upside, Davis carries clear mid-round appeal. He’ll be an exceptional rotational back early on in his NFL career, and in time, he could emerge as a true early-down engine, with the capacity for heavy volume, particularly in positive game scripts.

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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