Davis Webb’s collegiate career has taken him from Lubbock, Texas, to the University of California, Berkeley, in the hopes that it will eventually land him in an NFL city next year.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Webb started his career as a Red Raider playing for head coach Kliff Kingsbury. While playing at Texas Tech, Webb set seven Big 12 freshman records and four different school marks, including throwing for at least one touchdown in his first 18 career games. He led the Big 12 in passing yards per game (317.4) and was named the offensive MVP of the Holiday Bowl after leading Texas Tech to a victory over #14 Arizona State by passing for 403 yards and four touchdowns.
In 23 games, which included 14 starts, at Texas Tech, Webb threw for 5,557 yards, 46 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions.
The situation in Lubbock turned sour for Webb after he was replaced at quarterback by Patrick Mahomes. Webb had suffered a couple of different injuries, during which time Mahomes had filled in for him, and had put up sparkling performances. Feeling like he wasn’t given a fair shot at regaining his starting job, Webb decided to transfer to Cal for his senior season.
While he initially committed to Colorado, and even flirted with the idea of playing at Auburn, Webb ended up in Berkeley mainly because of Cal head coach Sonny Dykes’ decision to hire Jake Spavital as his new offensive coordinator. Spavital was a former protégé of Kingsbury and had informed Webb that he would be bringing the same air-raid offense with him to Cal. As a grad student, Webb was eligible to play this season and wanted to use his final season of eligibility playing in a familiar offense rather than having to learn a whole new system.
As a quarterback prospect, what immediately jumps out at you in regards to Webb is his size and arm talent. He possesses the prototypical size and length, along with a strong arm that can make NFL-type throws. Some of the throws he can make, like throwing the ball on a rope from the boundary hash all the way to the opposite sideline outside the numbers, a number of current NFL QB’s don’t even attempt.
He displays a feel for the passing game and is able to lead receivers to open areas on the field, while also throwing with touch and placing some air underneath the football to get it in between the second and third levels of the defense. Webb also throws a pretty deep ball and is able to drop it in over defenders’ outstretched arms and into his receiver.
Webb does a nice job of staying upright and tall in the pocket and is able to see over the defense without any issues. He is able to step up and climb the ladder when he senses outside pressure, while simultaneously keeping his eyes downfield looking for his target. He has shown the ability to roll out and away from pressure, yet he is still able to deliver accurate darts on the run.
The obvious concerns when projecting Webb as a NFL quarterback has to do with the offense he has played in for basically all of his collegiate career at both Texas Tech and Cal. While the “air raid” system allows Webb to put up impressive stats it limits what he can do both pre-snap as well as post-snap. Webb is not asked to read defensive coverages or call out plays in a huddle. After the ball has been snapped, he has predetermined options to throw to, and is not asked to read a full field and go through a normal progression.
Other areas in which Webb could stand to polish up or work on would be his pocket awareness and limiting turnovers. He doesn’t always pick up the outside rush, which ends up leading to sacks and unnecessary physical punishment. While Webb has shown to be athletic enough to escape pressure, he is more of a pocket passer than a scrambler, which is a good reason for him to also learn how to avoid oncoming defenders by using his feet to subtly maneuver in the pocket, buying himself some extra time to find an open receiver.
Webb has also developed a great deal of trust in his arm strength and will stare down his primary target, attempting to fit the football into congestion areas, which leads to turnovers. He has thrown 11 interceptions so far this season, and has had multiple picks in three of Cal’s five losses.
Similar to previous spread system QBs who entered the NFL, Davis Webb will need to go through an adjustment period once he gets drafted, and will have to be looked at as a developmental prospect. How quickly he adapts and adjusts to the NFL will determine how quickly he sees the field.
Unlike some of his spread predecessors Webb possesses the size, arm-strength, and feel for the passing game that should excite the NFL. How he finishes up this season at Cal and how he performs during the pre-draft process will determine where he ends up going in the draft. However, with his skillset, it wouldn’t surprise me if Webb finds himself higher on a number of teams’ draft boards than many would have anticipated at this point.