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A Little Nate Davis News

I remember these times.

Granted, OTP is a college football site, but we always keep a watchful eye on the big boys that play on Sunday, especially now that former Ball Stater Nate Davis stands on the verge of making an impact in the League. Nate would have to beat out Alex Smith and David Carr for the starters job, and while certainly not easy, it isn’t as if he’s battling an entrenched sort of Manningesque Pro Bowler. That’s a good thing. Will it be this year? Perhaps not, but Davis still has a future in this League, a fact not lost on 49er fans and faithful. Are they expecting Nate to come in and tear the NFL up the way he did the MAC? Of course not. But they already know what Smith and Carr can do. Davis is the great unknown, and sports perhaps more so than any other avenue doesn’t subscribe to the “Devil you know…” mantra.

So is relative unknownness, a boatload of talent, and youth enough to start laying all your paychecks on the 49ers? If you think so, then head on over and check out the NFL Lines, because it’s never to early to start preparing for that dare to be rich moment.

Some Davis news from aroujnd the Web…

  • Dave Razzano, NFL scout and son of legendary 49er scout Tony Razzano, thinks Davis may very well be the answer for the 49ers QB problems, and is certainly better for their success than Alex Smith. “When I evaluated him, I thought he was the same guy as Mark Sanchez,” Razzano said. “I thought they were very similar. But you have to put a guy on the field and let him play. There’s a reason Ball State was, like, 12-1 or 13-1 for the first time ever. And now they’re back to winning two games. That guy was a heck of a quarterback. “They might say, ‘He doesn’t learn this or that.’ If they just handed him the keys, that’s their answer. He’ll make mistakes, but he won’t make the same mistake twice. This kid made every throw imaginable. It wasn’t a short-passing game (at Ball State). There would be guys in his face and he’d roll out, man, he hit guys on a 30-yard freakin’ strike between defenders. The kid was unbelievable. I knew he’d fall (in the draft) because in the spring all that garbage comes in.”  (linky)
  • Nate’s been involved in some charity work around the bay area. He lent his time and appearance to the Robert Julian Robbins dedicated to gun safety after a tragic shooting of a 3-year old. ND… always a class act. (linky)
  • In case you were wondering, and you’re a Madden fan, Madden 11 has Davis rated as a 65 overall, same as David Carr. That’s also below Alex Smith’s 77. (linky)

Brewster Sidelined, NFL Debut On Hold

robert brewsterFormer Ball State Cardinal and third-round draft choice of the Dallas Cowboys Robert Brewster is going to have to wait a little while longer before he can see exactly how different the competition is in the NFL than the Mid-American Conference. Brewster suffered a torn pectoral muscle while he was lifting weights, and an MRI confirmed that.

Brewster, who was the second highest draft pick ever from Ball State now relies on the Cowboys for the next move.  After having surgery immediately after the injury, Brewster now begins the healing stage as well as the waiting stage. Ideally, Dallas would sign Brewster to a contract and place him on injured reserve, effectively ending his season, but giving him a large piece of stability as the year goes on.

Clearly the worst case scenario is that Dallas uses this as an excuse to somehow get sour on Brewster, but that situation seems highly unlikely since large, agile, skilled offensive linemen are exceptionally hard to come by. Good luck to Robert as he heals up and gets ready to unleash hell on the NFL.

Some Love for Nate

While it was a bit of a surprise who he went to and when, Nate Davis continues to bring it with the San Francisco 49ers. Despite sitting on a depth chart staring at the backsides of Shaun Hill and Alex Smith, Davis is impressing those that matter and some that don’t with his arm strength, accuracy, and general awesomeness. Says Samuel Lam of MVN

Even though this off-season’s quarterback battle will mainly feature Alex Smith and Shaun Hill, would you believe that the quarterback that will benefit most from this could be Nate Davis?

The rookie quarterback out of Ball State was drafted in the fifth round and could be projected to be the team’s third string quarterback. He even could end up as the fourth stringer behind veteran Damon Huard.

But how can he benefit from a battle that doesn’t even involve him?

Now, the 49ers would be fools to not name Shaun Hill their starter for the 2009 season. Everything that has gone right for Hill has gone accordingly and he should be rewarded with the starting role. With an impressive 7-2 record as a starter, Hill does give the 49ers the best shot to win.

But let’s say that Hill does get the #1 spot on the depth chart. Who would be #2? You would think Alex Smith will take that spot, but Davis could be a solid challenge to Smith.

Smith is the pet project of the Mike Nolan era. With that #1 overall pick status looming over Smith, the “bust” word starts to creep closer and closer around 49ers camp. The 49ers surprised some by restructuring Smith’s contract to keep him around. But if he does not perform well, he should not be rewarded the #2 spot. If Davis does play better, Smith’s career in San Francisco might as well be over.

Smith says that he has fully recovered from off-season shoulder surgery and would be ready to handle the upcoming battle for the starting job. But with a lot of uncertainty behind Smith, Davis would probably benefit from the battle for the #2 spot on the depth chart.

Davis has been criticized for having an unorthodox way of gripping the football. But that shouldn’t take away his ability to throw the ball deep and accurately. In fact, those are the skills that I have yet to see from Smith at the pro level.

Davis looks to have more upside (and more potential) at this point than Smith does. If Davis outperforms Smith this off-season, the 49ers should not hold onto Smith as the future of the franchise. They need to let it go and move on.

Dyslexia, the learning disability that Davis has, should not be a problem for Davis as he learns the playbook. He has said that he is a great visual learner and as long as he is able to visualize the play and picture it, he will be just fine on the field.

And as Davis continues to battle for a position on the roster, he might just be good enough to make it to #2. He probably won’t win the top spot, but could very well set himself for a bright future if he can show his goods in training camp. And over recent years, backup quarterbacks have excelled when the team’s starter is unable to perform. In recent memory, we can find a Tony Romo or a Matt Cassel quietly taking notes as a backup. When their time came, they never looked back.

While Nate himself has said it isn’t dyslexia, the point is noted. From all evidence available, Alex Smith simply isn’t a serviceable starter in the NFL. Bust or not, a term which is thrown around far too frequently, it’s simply a matter of economics.

Davis, as the piece suggests, brings something Smith doesn’t. He brings hope. He brings optimism. He brings an unknown. Because the Alex Smith known, isn’t very good. Keep it up, Nate.

Hill, Gerberry Sign Contracts, Brewster profiled

Marking the fourth and fifth Cardinals from the 2008 departing class to sign NFL contracts, Dan Gerberry and Darius Hill both signed with a pro squad earlier this week. Hill, whom we reported a Bengals signee on Monday, a senior tight end for the Cardinals last year, was a 2008 All-MAC First Team selection after catching 40 passes for 670 yards and seven touchdowns. He also earned 2007 all-conference first team honors after receiving honorable mention in 2006. A 2007 John Mackey Award Semifinalist, Hill registered 65 catches for 926 yards with 11 TDs as a junior. He set the Ball State career record with 31 touchdown receptions and ranked third with 2,544 career pass receiving yards. Hill’s 157 career receptions ranks third on the Cardinals charts, while his four games of 100 or more yards receiving ties for sixth on Ball State’s career chart.

Dan Gerberry has signed with the Detroit Lions after a rookie tryout last weekend. He will attend the Lions next mini-camp May 18. A senior center for the Cardinals in 2008, Gerberry was an All-Mid-American Conference First Team selection as a senior. He started all 14 games in 2008, and started all 50 games in his four year career. He was part of an offensive line which ranked first in the MAC and fourth in the nation for fewest sacks allowed at 1.0 per game. A 2008 team co-captain, Gerberry blocked for an offense which ranked 24th in the nation in passing with 258.0 yards per game and helped H-back MiQuale Lewi set a single-season rushing record with 1,736 yards. Gerberry also protected junior quarterback Nate Davis, who was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football League Draft, after passing for 9,233 yards and 74 touchdowns in his collegiate career.

Gerberry and Hill join Nate Davis (49ers), Robert Brewster (Cowboys), and Andre Ramsey (Seahawks) as Cardinals on a squad at least for now. It is expected that punter Chris Miller will make #6 once opening day hits. Miller hasn’t signed a contract yet, though he has auditioned for at least one squad.

The aforementioned Robert Brewster was profiled yesterday in the Dallas Morning News, and you can check that out here. Some cool video of Robert, as well as his strengths, weaknesses, fit for the Cowboys, and some quotes about him from the Cowboys OL coach.

Former Ball Stater Reggie Hodges Released

Former Ball State punter Reggie Hodges has been released as of this morning by the New York Jets. Interesting for not only the fact that Hodges was a Cardinal alum and an NFL journeyman since the NFL Draft in 2005, but also for the recent news that he had “negotiated” with new Jets draftee Mark Sanchez for Hodge’s #6.

Since being drafted by the Rams, Hodges played in actual games for the Rams, Eagles, and Jets. He attempted to make the Colts, Seahawks, and Patriots, with no success. Hodges also spent the 2006 and 2007 season out of football. Hodges career state to date sit at 20 games played with 85 punts and a 40.2 yard average.

Hodges made a bit of news in the recent days as it was announced that he was giving up his jersey number (#6) for rookie QB and first round draft selection Mark Sanchez. Not a terribly uncommon situation, and terms of the deal were not disclosed. And all Sanchez had to do was wait a week. Shame…

Regardless, good luck to Reggie either making a roster or transitioning out of football.