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Packers claim former Giants WR Jawill Davis on waivers

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Green Bay added a kick return specialist to the roster on Monday.

New York Giants v Carolina Panthers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers were briefly up to 90 players on their roster on Monday after the signings of wide receiver Darrius Shepherd and cornerback Chandon Sullivan. However, the release of running back Lavon Coleman in the afternoon put the team back down to 89. Now the roster is full again, as the NFL’s Monday transaction wire revealed another addition by general manager Brian Gutekunst.

That transaction is a waiver claim, as the Packers have added wide receiver Jawill Davis after he was recently released by the New York Giants. Davis, who signed with the Giants last year as an undrafted free agent, made the team out of training camp and was active for seven games last season. He then went on injured reserve late in the season and was waived on Friday.

A three-year starter at Bethune-Cookman, Davis’ best season came as a redshirt sophomore in 2015. That season he caught 39 passes for 788 yards and six touchdowns, averaging just over 20 yards per reception. Interestingly, Davis returned only a single punt or kickoff in college (back in his true freshman year of 2013), but returns were his primary function for the Giants as a rookie.

At 6-foot-1 and 191 pounds, Davis is fast — there’s no question about that. According to Draftscout.com, Davis’ time in the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day was 4.38 seconds, with an even more impressive time of 1.50 in the first ten yards. He also is an explosive athlete, registering a 39.5-inch vertical and a solid 10-foot-3 broad jump.

However, Davis’ agility testing was truly awful for a player at his position and size. His short shuttle time is a reported 4.56 seconds, with a 3-cone time of 7.52 seconds. By contrast, Packers fifth-round pick Kingsley Keke had better times at the 2019 Combine — 4.50 and 7.38 — as a 6-foot-3, 288-pound defensive lineman. Playerprofiler.com puts Davis’ agility score in the first percentile among wide receivers.

It is interesting, then, that Davis’ contributions with the Giants came almost exclusively as a return man. Evidently his preferred method for returning kicks is simply to outrun tacklers rather than to make them miss. Using that approach, He did have a moderate amount of success as a returner last year, with 24.4 yards per kickoff return on seven attempts and 7.4 yards per punt return on 12 opportunities.