INDIANAPOLIS — Frankly, Davis Webb sounds a little tired of the talk about him as a potential “sleeper” QB in this year’s draft class. He was the guy Patrick Mahomes nabbed the starting job from at Texas Tech, then the guy who replaced Jared Goff at Cal.
He’s convinced he can just be the guy.
“I’m not overlooked by NFL teams,” Webb said Friday. “That’s the only thing I really care about. It’s just you guys [in the media] who are doing that.”
If Webb is being held under the radar at all, by teams or media, there may be a two-part explanation.
1.) He wasn’t a full-time starter until last season at Cal—he split time with Baker Mayfield and Mahomes at Texas Tech in 2013 and ’14, respectively, then threw just 22 passes in 2015 as Mahomes grabbed the QB1 job.
2.) He has to fight the stigma which comes with playing in not one, but two systems (Texas Tech’s and Cal’s) that typically are frowned upon by scouts, because of how steep the learning curve from those programs to NFL offenses have proven to be. Goff’s rookie struggles, for one, need no introduction.
“Obviously, I can be more efficient mechanically,” Webb said. “And coming from my system and my offense, there’s obviously some changes that need to happen. ...
“Try to be more efficient mechanically, try to be under center, work [on] 3-, 5-, 7-step drops. Every time I walk into an interview, coaches say they’re impressed with my football IQ. I’m a hard-working individual and I think that’s what separates me.”
To help him, Webb has turned to former Seattle quarterback and Washington Redskins coach Jim Zorn, as he trains with Proactive Sports Performance in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
“He’s a great quarterback mind, played in the league, had coaching stops along the way, so he’s been a great asset,” Webb said. “Every time I bring his name up in the coaches’ room, everyone’s eyes kind of light up because I’m speaking their language and Coach Zorn has taught me.”
Those meetings, and the related work diagramming plays on the whiteboard, are crucial for any QB draft hopefuls. They’re even more important for quarterbacks coming from extreme spread offenses, like Cal’s, that incorporate a lot of quick, first-read throws.
Can Webb find his reads out of a more traditional scheme? Can he do so while learning how to play from under center?
“Once [teams] see my football knowledge—and they have because it’s my second time around—I think they’re impressed with my IQ and the foundation I have,” said Webb, that “second time” comment referencing his week spent meeting with coaches and scouts at the Senior Bowl. “It’s just a different way of doing things, the philosophies at Cal and Texas Tech. But once I get on the board and show them what I know, I think they’re impressed.”
The quick scouting report: Webb checked in at 6’ 5”, 229 lbs., this week—exactly the type of size NFL teams tend to covet in their QBs. He also throws as effective a deep ball as just about any other quarterback in this class, so the arm is there. Everything else, like his footwork and ability to read defenses and accuracy, are where Webb has to show progress if he is to project as a future starter.
“That’s what this whole process is about,” Webb said. “It’s about getting you ready for the NFL. Coach Zorn and I have been doing everything from talking about huddles to talking about ... the verbiage of plays and the defenses. So I feel great. I have a great foundation. Just looking forward to showing teams like I have in the past couple nights.”
There is work left to do. Whether he agrees with the perception or not, Webb sits behind at least Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer, Patrick Mahomes and Mitch Trubisky in this class’s anticipated QB pecking order.
But it’s been a topsy-turvy trip to this point for Webb anyway, from the Texas Tech QB battles to the pressure of replacing Goff. Why make it easy now?
“I’ve always been 6’ 5”, 230 pounds, and can throw the ball better than anybody,” Webb said. “So I’ve always believed in myself and I’ll continue to do that.”