Yes, yes, I know. Very funny. "John loves Buster Davis! Now he has to write bad things about him!"
Here's why I have always stuck in Buster's corner, and it has very little to do with me playing favorites. Buster is really, really young. Buster had two years of NFL experience before the team drafted Larry English, who is the same age as Davis.
If he was getting injured a lot, you could point to the fact that he was still quite young and needed to grow into his body. There is, after all, a reason that the NFL does not let players into the NFL Draft without them being 3 years removed from high school. It's because to take the pounding of an NFL season you need a fully-developed body.
I was always looking at the reasons the Chargers drafted CBD (good hands, tough route runner, speed to burn, smart guy) and saying "once his body is fully-developed and he can stay healthy, he's going to be a valuable first-round pick." I still think it's rather silly to say "Larry English gets another year or two before we close the book on him" while also saying "Buster Davis will never amount to anything!" when they're the same age as each other, and I will still root for Buster to find that magical fountain of health either in San Diego or somewhere outside of the AFC West.
In CBD's rookie season, he missed only two games (games 7 and 8) and put up decent "slot WR" numbers: 20 catches, 188 yds, 1 TD. He also ran the ball 3 times for 9 yards. After this season it seemed fairly evident that he'd be taking Chris Chambers' starting WR spot soon. Then it all fell apart.
In his second season, Davis played in just four games. He finished the season with 4 catches for 59 yards.
In his third season, Davis playing in just one game. This has plenty to do with the Chargers plan, though. Although seemingly healthy all season, Davis was kept on the sidelines until a meaningless Week 17 game against the Washing Redskins. In that game he caught 6 passes for 52 yards and also ran the ball once for 4 yards. It was obvious that Davis had the talent, and the Chargers hoped an entire season away from the field would help him to be more consistent with his health.
In 2010, it appeared that the patience with CBD had paid off. Often playing through injury, Buster missed just one of the first seven games of the season. Seeing limited action, mostly reliving his role as a slot WR, Buster put up numbers a little better his rookie season: 21 catches, 259 yards and 1 TD. He was on pace for a breakout season when, as predicted by many, Davis went down with a season-ending injury after a half-season of play.
Is Buster talented? No doubt. Can he still turn his NFL career around? Absolutely. Unfortunately, it would appears the Chargers patience has been worn too thin. With a year left on his contract, there is lots of talk about the Chargers releasing CBD and letting him try his luck somewhere else. For being a first-round pick (30th overall), and for all the money the team has given him, they have gotten very little return on their investment.
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