The Titans’ offensive line has received its fair share of credit for the team’s dynamic running game over the past few years. One of the more unheralded members of that line, offensive guard Nate Davis, could be eyeing a significant contract once his rookie pact expires. As Adam H. Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com writes, Davis is quickly transforming into one of the NFL’s top offensive guards, and “industry insiders believe he will get paid like it with another stellar year.”
The 2019 third-round pick out of Charlotte has spent his entire two-year career with Tennessee. After starting 12 of his 13 games as a rookie (plus another three starts in the postseason), Davis started all 16 games for the Titans in 2020, playing in each of the team’s 1,074 offensive snaps. Pro Football Focus graded the 24-year-old as one of the better offensive guards in the NFL, and another strong performance in 2021 should allow him to cash in on a potential extension.
As Beasley notes, Davis has had the opportunity to learn from a number of veterans during his short stint in Tennessee, including Taylor Lewan, Rodger Saffold, and Ben Jones. Couple that guidance with Davis’s intangibles (including a top-notch work ethic), and it shouldn’t be a surprise that the lineman has continued to improve in each of his two NFL seasons, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he takes another leap in year three.
So how much could Davis ask for on his next contract? Per Beasley, league insiders believe the player can command a deal that pays him as one of the top offensive guards in the NFL, with the writer citing Brandon Brooks ($14.1MM AAV), Zack Martin ($14MM AAV), Andrus Peat ($11.5MM AAV), and Saffold ($11MM AAV). The Titans are going to be in a bit of a cap bind going forward, so the organization may have to get creative if they want to retain Davis beyond the 2022 season.
Drafted to be the Texans‘ hopeful left tackle of the future, Tytus Howard has since been relocated to left guard (with Matt Kalilwinning the left-edge job) and has now broken a finger. The rookie blocker suffered the break in Houston’s preseason game against Detroit on Saturday night, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Coming from a Division I-FCS program, and tasked with learning one of the most difficult positions at which to acclimate in the NFL, Howard needs all the reps he can get early on in his career. But this malady is not expected to keep him out of the Texans’ Week 1 game against the Saints, Wilson adds. Howard is in line to be the team’s starting left guard. This injury, in theory, could force the team to adjust those plans.
Here is the latest from the AFC South, shifting to perhaps the division’s most important player:
Frank Reich does not want to wait much longer on Andrew Luck‘s recovery. The second-year Colts coach wants to name his Week 1 starter shortly after the team’s third preseason game, and while Luck doing pregame drills before Indianapolis’ second August contest was a positive development, this saga may not wrap up in a week. It’s been the side-to-side movements that have bothered Luck’s ankle and calf injuries most, Mike Wells of ESPN.com notes. But Luck not only did some lateral-movement work before Saturday’s game, Wells adds the 29-year-old passer has done workouts like that in private in recent days. The Colts, who will re-evaluate Luck midweek, are cautiously optimistic he will be available for Week 1.
Another AFC South talent is uncertain for Week 1, but Marqise Lee returned to Jaguars practice this week. This obviously increases the sixth-year wideout’s chances for being available come September. Doug Marrone expressed doubt about this recently, but Lee — sidelined throughout 2018 due to ACL damage — returned to work Saturday.
The Colts‘ injury situation at receiver has helped one of their incumbents. Once thought to be a bubble player, Chester Rogers is headed back to Indy’s 53-man roster. The former Ryan Grigson-era draft choice is the Colts’ top return man, Reich said (via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson, on Twitter). Parris Campbell remains sidelined because of a hamstring injury, Erickson tweets.
Indianapolis’ revamped receiving corps will not includeReece Fountain. Reich confirmed the 2018 fifth-rounder underwent ankle surgery Friday and will miss the season (Twitterlinks via CBS4’s Mike Chappell).
The Titans are still deciding on their right guard. While veteran utility man Kevin Pamphile would seemingly have the inside track to start opposite Rodger Saffold next month, the team drafted Nate Davis in Round 3 and has 2017 sixth-rounder Corey Levin. Although Pamphile started opposite Saffold on Saturday, each of these players are in the mix. Former Dolphins draftee Jamil Douglasmay be in the running as well. Mike Vrabel does not plan to name a starter until after the Titans’ dress-rehearsal preseason game next weekend, Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com notes. Douglas has not played in a game since 2016; Levin suited up for all 16 Titan games last season. An injury limited Pamphile to three 2018 contests (two starts).
The Titans have have signed third-round guard Nate Davis to his rookie contract, the club announced today.
A Charlotte product, Davis made 37 starts over three seasons while playing both tackle and guard. Per the Pro Football Focus draft guide, Davis allowed only seven sacks during his collegiate career. In 2018, he gave up just four pressures on 237 pass-blocking snaps.
Tennessee will field an all-new guard tandem in 2019 after cutting Josh Kline and allowing Quinton Spain to leave via free agency. Free agent addition Rodger Saffold will take over at left guard, but right guard is wide open. Davis, the 82nd overall selection, will compete with veterans like Kevin Pamphile and Austin Pasztor for a starting role.
With Davis under contract, Tennessee has only one 2019 draft choice — second-round wideout A.J. Brown — left unsigned.
Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf will take a Top 30 visit with the Bills on Monday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Metcalf, who boasts the most impressive physical tools of any wide receiver in this year’s class, could be an option for Buffalo with the No. 9 overall pick.
Some have knocked Metcalf for his lack of natural catching ability, but he had no trouble reeling in the ball in 2017 when he averaged 16.6 yards per catch and scored seven touchdowns for Ole Miss. There’s also some concern about Metcalf’s health, but he was cleared for all football activities in January following his October neck surgery.
Here’s a look at the latest NFL Draft buzz:
Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown will visit the Buccaneers on Monday, a source tells Rapoport (on Twitter). The Bucs could use another wide receiver after losing DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries, but it’s not clear whether they’d be willing to use the No. 5 overall pick at that position.
Iowa tight end Noah Fant will visit with the Lions on Monday, Rapoport reports. Fant registered 518 receiving yards and a team-high seven touchdowns in his final campaign with the Hawkeyes. The Lions could use a player like Fant after Levine Toilolo, Luke Willson, and Michael Roberts underwhelmed last year. Recently, the Lions strengthened the TE group by adding Jesse James, but there’s still room for improvement.
Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker will get together with the Steelers, per RapSheet. Last year, Baker captured the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back. But, at 5’11 and 193 pounds, Baker doesn’t offer ideal size for the position.
Washington tackle Kaleb McGary will visit with the Patriots on Monday and the Packers on Tuesday, Rapoport hears. There has been some speculation that McGary could be employed as a guard at the pro level.
The Giants are hosting Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell and Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, Rapoport hears. The Giants are armed with picks at No. 6 and 17, though one of those selections may be spent on drafting Eli Manning‘s successor.
Charlotte guard Nate Davis will take a Top 30 visit with the Bills, Rapoport hears.