Prospects make final pitch

Published 9:41 pm Thursday, March 22, 2012

Former East Carolina quarterback Dominique Davis (center) runs an agility drill while NFL scouts time him during the Pirates pro day on Thursday at East Carolina University. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

GREENVILLE — Questions about their game follow them around like secret service agents shadowing the president, but on Thursday Dominique Davis, Lance Lewis, Stephen Baker and Emanuel Davis were given one last opportunity to provide some answers as they performed in front scouts from 17 NFL organizations and one CFL representative during East Carolina’s pro day.
While all the Pirates seniors were given an opportunity to display their talents in front all the stopwatch-holding scouts, Dominique Davis, Lewis, Baker and Emanuel Davis were by far the most intensely scrutinized, especially because neither received an invite to this year’s NFL combine.
Each player has a very real chance of getting selected in April’s NFL draft or receiving a free agent contract, but each has to overcome concerns NFL teams might have.
Standing at sculpted 6-3, 221 pounds, quarterback Dominique Davis is carved like an action figure, but his athleticism has never really been in question. His ability to run a pro-style offense is.
Davis spent the last two seasons operating the Pirates shotgun-heavy Air Raid offense, which while the system is known for generating big point totals it does not have a great history of producing NFL signal-callers.
Davis would like to dispel that notion and took a step toward doing so during the 2012 Players All-Star Classic where he hit on four of his five pass attempts for 56 yards and one TD, all while under center.
“I proved that in my senior bowl game. We played a West Coast offense and I picked the playbook up very quick,” Davis said. “I won the starting job for the game and played a good game. I answered those questions about picking up a pro-style offense. I was under center the whole time.”
With that strong showing Davis’ stock could be on the rise, but the same may not be said for Lewis, his favorite receiver.
Like Davis, Lewis is a good athlete but was measured at 6’1” on Thursday, two inches under his East Carolina listing, which could hurt his draft value. Lewis also didn’t have his best performance in the ever-so-important 40-yard dash.
“I did good today but my 40 time wasn’t where I wanted it to be at but the scouts still said they were impressed,” Lewis said. “I heard some different times (but one scout) had me on paper for a 4.52.  I think I just didn’t stay down long enough. My first step was good but after that I popped straight up.”
Despite recording a 40-time over the precious 4.4 mark, Lewis still has two years of film from his days as a Pirate to make his case for him. While he might not be 6-3, at 6-1 he is still a good sized, physical receiver who does a nice job adjusting to the ball once it’s in the air.
“My strength is going and getting the ball, boxing out and making over-the-shoulder catches,” Lewis said. “(The scouts) told me I did an excellent job today and that I will get my shot sometime in the future.”
Somebody who may get his shot sooner than later is Baker, even though it took him nearly four years to get his chance to prove he can play at East Carolina.
Baker has perfect dimensions for an NFL tackle as he stands a legit 6-feet, seven-inches tall and weighs in at roughly 310 pounds. Baker, a Northern Nash product, failed to wow former head coach Skip Holtz as well as current skipper Ruffin McNeill in practice over the years, but when injuries paved the way for him to get on the field this he made the most of his opportunity.
As for not being able to step up and win a starting job earlier in his career, Baker put the onus of that on his big shoulders.
“It’s all on me. It was mental, in my head. I wasn’t approaching it with the right mindset and that really hurt me,” Baker said.
One player who made the most of his time with the Pirates was corner Emanuel Davis who started about halfway through his freshman season and held the job ever since. Davis looked fantastic on Thursday as he stood a little over 5-feet, 10-inches tall and was a chiseled 194 pounds.
Davis, a Manteo alum, is a real versatile player who was a zone corner for two years for the Holtz’s regime before playing predominantly man coverage for McNeill his junior and senior seasons.
As to which style of play he preferred, Davis said it doesn’t matter.
“I just think of myself as a football player,” Davis said. “The game comes down to covering and tackling and I feel like I can do both.”