Entering the 2020 season, Carolina Panthers' running back Mike Davis was not expecting to see much of a role in the offense. He was listed as RB2 behind Christian McCaffrey but knew that the majority of the reps would be going to 22 and rightfully so.
However, Davis became a vital part of the offense early in the season when McCaffrey went down with an ankle injury that caused him to miss six games. McCaffrey came back for one game vs Kansas City but injured his shoulder and then dealt with a thigh problem down the stretch and was never able to return. Davis also missed the final game of the season due to suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 16 vs the Washington Football Team.
My Overall Grade for Davis: B+
In the 15 games Davis did play, he proved that he is certainly capable of being a reliable back in the NFL and should have some sort of a role in the offense moving forward regardless of McCaffrey's health status. He ended the season with 642 yards and six touchdowns on 165 carries and also caught 59 passes for 373 yards and two touchdowns, making him one of four Panthers to end the season with 1,000 scrimmage yards joining Robby Anderson, DJ Moore, and Curtis Samuel.
The thing that I like most about Davis' game is his physicality. McCaffrey is more of an elusive back that can make you miss in space where Davis is your back that's going to fight and scrap for extra yardage on every carry. He has great balance and can bounce off of wimpy tacklers, which oftentimes turned negative plays into positive gains.
Although he showed flashes of it at Seattle, I didn't expect him to catch the ball as well as he did out of the backfield. He really stepped up and lessened the sting of McCaffrey being out. Is he ever going to put up McCaffrey-like numbers? Probably not, but he is absolutely deserving of earning a starting job somewhere. He is a free agent this offseason so Carolina will have to try lure away other teams that will be interested in him in the coming months.
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