April 22, 2008
Storrs, CT (UWIRE) -- Each day this week, The Daily Campus will highlight one UConn football senior and his chances of being selected in this weekend's NFL Draft.
Dan Davis isn't na've.
He knows that, despite helping to bring the UConn football program to new heights this past season, his chances of drafted in this Saturday's NFL Draft are slim.
And he's OK with that.
"Am I expecting to be drafted? No, I'm obviously expecting the worst," Davis said as he watched the Huskies practice Thursday at the Shenkman Training Facility. "I'll hopefully get into a camp and I'm not expecting anything more."
But while he's not fretting over hearing his named called, he's also not going to let that stop him.
While most prospects are willing to rest on their laurels and let fate take its course, the UConn senior defensive tackle is doing everything he can to optimize the golden opportunity that he sees before him.
From studying the type of players teams prefer, to curbing his weight to what he feels will give him the best shot, to even doing an independent study this semester in order to learn the agent-player dynamics, Davis has worked hard - on and off the field - to make his NFL dream comes true.
"Knowing the game and realizing certain situations to put yourself in the best case scenario is what I've been doing from now on," he said. "That's why I'm not too worried about it. Even when you talk to the scouts and the GMs, they don't want to disclose any type of information. All you know is put yourself in the best position, perform when you're supposed to perform and hope for the best."
As a leader, Davis was irreplaceable last season. Viewed by teammates and onlookers as the heart and soul of the program as it rose from obscurity to Big East co-champions, Davis was always at the forefront and willing to do what he could to help his team.
But that selflessness may have hindered his chances in the long run.
After playing defensive end for his first three years in Storrs, Davis slid inside to defensive tackle and saw a dramatic fall in production.
Although he was never a true sack artist before the move, posting just 6.5 sacks in three years, he finished the year with only one sack and three tackles for loss.
But while his statistics fell, Davis is using last season to help his draft stock rise.
Knowing teams such as the Indianapolis Colts and the Seattle Seahawks like to use lighter, quicker defensive tackles, Davis has tried to capitalize on his versatility by dropping over 20 pounds down to 275 in order to be better suited for their schemes.
Too small to play any of the line positions in a 3-4 scheme, Davis even worked out at linebacker at UConn's Pro Day for representatives from the 49ers and Patriots.
"Knowing my playing style, you can pretty much [foresee] which teams you're gonna hear from," Davis said. "You want to know what your niche is and also be ready for anything surprising that might come up.
"You can't just go into it blind. You try to study and see what's going on. They taught us here to be prepared for everything, so you want to be ready for anything."
His strategy has seen some success. Davis was flown out to Indianapolis a few weeks back, and with the Colts holding five picks in the last two rounds of the draft, he says there's a small chance he may get taken.
And if he does end up getting drafted or making a roster, he'll be ready for that, too.
Graduating in May as an economics major, Davis said he used an internship this semester in order to learn more about the NFL system and contract negotiations.
But he said he didn't go into economics just to help out his NFL career. Regardless if he makes it or not, Davis knows he'll have a future in working with money, one way or the other.
"It was the best major that I could get into to do a lot of different things." Davis said. "I can do anything from being a financial advisor to working with an NFL team."
But he's not ready to put on a shirt and tie. Not just yet.
With the draft just four days away, it's more likely than not he won't see his name scroll across the screen of his TV. But as long as there's a way to make it on an NFL roster, he's going to do whatever he can to make the most of it.
"From what I've heard, I'm a seventh-round [or a] free agent," Davis said, "but you never know what might happen."
(C) 2008 The Daily Campus via UWIRE