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How Does Vontae Davis Become An “Elite” NFL Cornerback?

Posted Aug 10, 2014

Intro: Vontae Davis is back on the practice field after missing the first week and a half of Colts Training Camp. What does Davis need to do to become one of the league’s best cornerbacks?



ANDERSON – Evaluating cornerbacks at an elite level can be a difficult task.

From a numbers standpoint, racking up plenty of interceptions and/or pass deflections is a clear indicator of a game-changing corner.

At the same time, if quarterbacks are smart, they will shy away from throwing at the NFL’s top corners, therefore limiting the chances to create turnovers.

So how do you explain Vontae Davis and his status among the league’s best corners?

Davis had just one interception last season in 85 targets, yet Pro Football Focus ranked him as the NFL’s best cover corner thanks to players only catching 50.6 percent of the balls that were thrown his way.

“If you’re going to say, ‘Okay, this guy’s an elite guy,’ it comes down to picks,” Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky says.

“Sometimes it’s an elite guy that they’re not going to throw to him. From that standpoint, I think that’s the way the majority of people in the United States judge it, so that’s what you’ve got to do.”


Last year, Davis ranked tied for 127th in the league with just one interception.

That number certainly doesn’t tell the whole story of what Davis means to the Colts defense.

This system relies on cornerbacks that can excel on an island and Davis has held his own against some special pass catchers.

“(Davis) is buying into the system from a technique standpoint and how we are teaching it, and he has had success in it,” Manusky says.

Ever since coming over to the Colts following the 2012 Training Camp, Davis has extended his thanks to Manuksy and Chuck Pagano, a former defensive backs coach, for the corner’s development.

Davis viewed the opportunity in Indianapolis as a fresh start and the relationship on both ends has paid dividends.

From a trade standpoint, the Colts gave up a second round pick in 2013 for Davis.

It’s looking like the Colts will have “four” guys from that 2013 class crack the starting lineup for the season opener (Bjoern Werner, Davis, Hugh Thornton and Khaled Holmes).

Earlier this offseason, there was some question on whether or not Davis would re-sign with the Colts.

In the end though, he looked back on the two seasons and saw how much that has changed Davis the player, and the person.

The Colts view Davis as one of the league’s best, even if the 25-year old corner doesn’t like to waste his time worrying about where he stands.

"I really don't measure myself against anyone,” Davis says.

“I just prepare and go out and be the best that I can be and that’s all I can do and all that I can control---to be the best player I can be."


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