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Chargers 90-in-90: CB Michael Davis

Davis had his best year as a pro in 2022 with 15 pass breakups despite not starting the Chargers’ first five games.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Davis first began to make his mark on the football world as a star two-way player for Glendale High School where he was named a First-Team All-Pacific League wide receiver. In his senior season, Davis caught 33 passes for 409 yards and three touchdowns while carrying the rock 39 times for another 258 yards and a pair of scores. As a kick returner, Davis took back 13 total kicks for 394 yards, including one for 99 yards.

He also shined on the track, posting a 10.67 in the 100-meter dash and a 21.4 in the 200, which placed seventh at the California State Meet.

After taking his talents to Brigham Young University, Davis started five games as a true freshman for the Cougars. In those contests, he recorded 17 tackles, a tackle for loss, and a pass breakup. His sophomore season saw him register nine total starts and set a career high with 43 tackles and six pass breakups.

His best campaign came as a junior when he started a high mark of 12 games, finishing with 27 tackles, 1.5 for loss, a whopping 10 pass breakups, and a forced fumble. His final season only saw Davis start eight games while playing in all 13. His stats saw some unsurprising regression with only 23 tackles but he managed a career-high in tackles-for-loss (2.5) and recorded the first pick of his career along with a recovered fumble. He finished his career with the Cougars playing in 48 total games while starting 30 in all.

Although he started his fair share of games in college, Davis wasn’t very productive and it didn’t help that he couldn’t keep a starting job for too long. These things didn’t help his case as he went unselected following the 2017 NFL draft. However, he was exactly what former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was looking for in a developmental corner.

With his height/weight/speed combination - he reportedly ran a 4.34 40 at his pro day - Davis was an easy projection at the next level. In the Bolts’ zone-heavy scheme, Davis would have much less to worry about aside from learning the nuances of the position and how to maximize his intangibles within zone coverage.

In his first year with the Chargers, Davis played mainly on special teams, registering 18 total stops and a single pass breakup. In 2018, Davis saw his first chunk of significant playing time, starting nine games and playing in all 16. He set career-high with 50 total tackles, eight passes broken up, and a forced fumble.

Davis became a full-time starter in 2019 when he started all 12 games he played in. He chipped in 39 tackles and set another high mark with nine pass breakups and his first two interceptions as a pro.

In his fourth year with the Chargers, Davis took his play to a new level. He started 14 of 16 games played that year and finished with a career-high 64 total tackles, three interceptions, and 14 pass breakups.

Davis continued his strong play through the next two seasons for the Chargers as he started 26 games from 2021-2022 and recorded 27 pass breakups, including a career-high 15 last year despite not starting the first five games for the Chargers.

Basic Info

Height: 6’2
Weight: 196
College: BYU
Experience: 6
Years with team: 6

Contract Status

“Michael Davis signed a 3 year, $25,200,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $6,000,000 signing bonus, $15,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $8,400,000. In 2023, Davis will earn a base salary of $6,000,000 and a roster bonus of $1,000,000, while carrying a cap hit of $9,400,000 and a dead cap value of $3,000,000.” -

The Good

While Austin Ekeler has been the big former UDFA story for the Chargers, people forget Davis was also a part of that 2017 undrafted class. He’s been a six-year contributor for the Chargers and a five-year starter since 2018. He’s quietly been one of the best cornerbacks in the league who doesn’t seem to earn nearly enough respect, especially as someone who has recorded 41 pass breakups over the past three seasons.

Davis has simply been as steady and as solid as it gets for the Bolts. While Samuel may have more interceptions, he also has more penalties. J.C. Jackson may have the better resume, but he’s coming off the worst season of his career and a serious injury.

Lastly, Davis became one of the Chargers most-consistent tacklers in 2022. After recording a missed tackle percentage of over 10 percent from 2018-2021, his

The Bad

It’s tough to nitpick Davis’ game after the phenomenal season he had a year ago. He’s not perfect, of course. That’d be wild to say, but he legitimately set low marks in a number of areas, including yards allowed in coverage, touchdowns allowed, missed tackles, yards after the catch, and passer rating allowed.

I’m not going to split hairs to find something tangible just for the sake of it, but let’s just say Davis has the potential to continue improving and his expectations in 2023 will be much higher now that he’s expected to be a week one starter unlike in 2022.

Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2023?

Davis and J.C. Jackson are the presumed starters for the Chargers at outside cornerbacks. After his best year yet, Davis can no longer be relegated to the bench, even if that means snaps will be taken away from 2021 second-round pick, Asante Samuel Jr. If the Chargers defense is going to finally play up to the expectations that come with Brandon Staley being their head coach, Davis will have to play a large role in that.