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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Brady Davis, QB, Illinois State

Could Davis be an UDFA QB target for the Colts?

NCAA Football: Illinois State at Colorado State Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A fan-favorite series is coming back to the site as it is officially prospect interview season. For anybody new to the site or for people who need a reminder, every draft season I sit down with prospects that are going to be in the upcoming NFL Draft to talk with them about their off-field accomplishments and some film aspects on the field. While I don’t always talk to star players, I have been able to talk to a few players who eventually ended up with the Colts such as Khari Willis, Marvell Tell III, and Rock Ya-Sin.

Our next prospect interview is with Illinois State quarterback Brady Davis. We had a great conversation about the ability to improvise as a quarterback, his film study habits, and what he’s working on to make it at the next level.


Height: 6’4”

Weight: 210 pounds

Class: Senior

Davis was a former three star recruit who committed to Memphis University out of high school. After redshirting his first year, Davis suffered a season ending knee injury that cost him his RS Freshman season. He only saw action in one game as a Sophomore and then proceeded to transfer to Illinois State University. At Illinois State, he enjoyed some success as a starter as he threw for 3,514 yards with 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in two seasons. His final game for the team came just prior to the playoffs in 2019 where he suffered yet another season ending knee injury to end his season.

ZH: There is a bit of a stigma of the FCS being a step down from the FBS. How was that transition from FBS to FCS to you and taking that perceivable step down?

BD: In terms of resources and money and whatnot, it is a bit different. Other than that though, especially being in the Missouri Valley Conference, I don’t think the level of play was a step down. It was different because it was more physical and that was how ball was played in that conference. Maybe not the speed that Memphis had or the American Conference had but it wasn’t a step down by any means for me. I think very highly of that conference and it opened up my eyes quickly that the guys I’m playing with and against are no joke.

ZH: So you had those two separate knee injuries in college. What was the recovery process like for you?

BD: I’ll say the second time was a lot better and smoother and reset me even more. I think the injuries I had lingering were fixed all over again and I feel great man. I feel like I’m 18, 19 years old again. I feel really good about that these days and I think my rehab after the surgery was good. I kind of knew what to expect the second time around so I feel like I’m back to where I was even before that first ACL and I think it was a bit of a blessing in disguise even though I had to miss those playoffs.

Ability to Improvise

ZH: I notice in a lot of young quarterbacks nowadays, I saw it in your film too, that the ability to improvise has become a more common trait. Do you think that ability is big in playing quarterback now?

BD: Yeah I think it is a special ability and you are seeing it a lot more. You see Tom Brady still getting it done the way he has for 20 years but I think it is seen more as a plus now when it used to be looked at as a negative. Explosive plays are big nowadays and having the ability to do that is definitely a big plus and something I feel very comfortable with. Getting rid of the ball in a lot of weird ways is something I thrive in doing and I see the game going in a direction where that is relevant now.

ZH: Is there a way to simulate that before games or is that more of a natural ability?

BD: I think it’s a feel thing but you can practice the throws. A lot of times when I’m warming up I like to simulate situations by running forward and falling backwards while I throw. I think it’s mostly a feel thing and something that you got or you don’t.

Film Study

ZH: I’m always so curious when it comes to film work with quarterbacks because there are so many variables for you to see on every play. What are your film habits like during game week prior to the game?

BD: I think there’s a big list of things. We like to look at tendencies, coverages, checking off key things about certain players and what they are good at and maybe what they are weak at, and then you have the whole gameplan with what plays work against certain coverages and what you are expected to do with changes at the line of scrimmage and kill packages and such. We have to be on point with all of that and we are also looking at third downs and drop back pass concepts so really breaking it all down from top to bottom and seeing what players the opponents have and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

ZH: How many hours would you say you spend a week in the film room?

BD: I would say we would meet for an hour before practice and an hour as a quarterback room at another time of the day so I’d say on top of that I’d probably do an hour by myself. A couple times a week I’d also spend late nights with my teammates or my coaches going over some things with film. I would say I would spend anywhere from four to five hours a day on it throughout the week.

Areas to work on

ZH: When you make this step to the next level, there are so many things that coaches and specialist are going to try and tweak in your mechanics and overall game. Have you been working with a trainer this offseason in preparation for that?

BD: Yeah so I’ve been working with Quarterback Country who have blown up over the last several years around my neck of the woods in the Southeast region. I’m working with those guys in Nashville and I’m at a training facility as well for combine testing and whatnot. I’m getting hands on training for really the first time ever in my life too. You see a lot of people these days start young and I never really had it so it’s been fun. I worked with these guys a little bit throughout college and a bit in high school but never like every day like I am now so it’s been awesome. I’m really learning a lot of new things and being able to tweak some things and it’s getting me to a whole new level.

ZH: Is there a type of offense that you would feel the most comfortable in at the next level?

BD: I’m really open which I think makes me a unique prospect. I played in a couple different systems being at Memphis and Illinois State but I really like the West Coast style-Pro Style we did at Illinois State. I think that can display my best abilities pushing it down the field and whatnot but you can always create and I like it all to be honest.

NFL Outlook

ZH: What is my NFL team getting if they spend a draft pick on Brady Davis?

BD: Starting with off the field, just a guy who really loves this game and spends a lot of time with it and wouldn’t rather do anything else in the world. A guy who has always been good to people too and has been raised that way to always have an upbeat and positive attitude. There’s not many people that have caught me on a bad day and especially not in the football building because that’s where I’m at my happiest. I think you are getting a guy who will treat everybody in the building right and loves football. On the field, I’m a guy who can make plays and be accurate with the ball while pushing it down the field. I have some speed and can create things with my arm.

Final Thoughts

I like a lot of Brady Davis brings to the field and think he has some upside to bring to the league. I can already see some of the comments under this piece sarcastically proclaiming him the savior so I will add that obviously he’s not the guy the Colts need for the 2021 NFL season and doesn’t solve anything currently at the position.

However he reminds me a lot of Jacob Dolegala from a few years back who was a big arm QB that nearly signed to the Colts practice squad after the 2018 Draft. I could see the Colts being interested in Davis in a similar capacity as a practice squad, developmental quarterback. The tools are there and I hope Davis can carve out a niche in the league going forward.