2024 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills RB Ray Davis Injury Analysis

2024 NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills RB Ray Davis Injury Analysis

Looking to bolster the backfield depth, the Buffalo Bills selected RB Re’Mahn “Ray” Davis with the 128th overall pick on Saturday. The fourth-round running back comes to Buffalo after several collegiate stops including Temple, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky. 

While he has had a variety of collegiate stops, this doesn’t compare to what his journey was growing up in and out of the foster system. If you don’t read anything else, read this at The Athletic to understand his story. It’s really powerful to see what someone such as Davis has gone through to get to this moment. 

During his arduous journey, parts of it included battling through a significant injury that could have derailed his NFL path. Read below for the full publicly reported injury history for Ra’Mahn Davis and analysis.

Injury History

2019 Temple

No publicly reported injuries. 

2020 Temple

Knee injury, vs Tulane

Davis suffered a knee injury against Tulane midway through the 2020 season when he banged his knee during the game. Reports indicated that he was fine after the game but after playing in four games, Davis entered the transfer portal. 

According to Dane Brugler’s The Beast draft guide, he recorded it as Davis missing three games due to injury but this might have been done in error. There was an injury, but transferring appears to be the true reason he missed the remainder of the season. 

2021 Vanderbilt 

Right toe ligament tear, vs Stanford, missed 9 games

Davis suffered a right toe injury in the first half of the loss to Stanford during the third game of the season. He was forced to watch the remainder of the game in a walking boot on his right foot before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a torn ligament in his toe. 

2022 Vanderbilt

No publicly reported injuries

2023 Kentucky

No publicly reported injuries.

Injury Analysis

The only notable injury for Davis is the toe injury that cost him most of the 2021 season. Considering he tore a ligament in his toe, this strongly suggests that he suffered a plantar plate tear. This is the tearing of the metatarsophalangeal joint ligament that connects the toe to the first metatarsal. 

Credit: CertifiedFoot.com

This injury occurs as the result of a turf toe injury when the toe is forced into hyperextension. Typically this occurs when the toe is planted into the ground and there is a force through the heel that places excessive pressure through the toe. Turf toe is a sprain to the great toe ligament whereas a plantar plate injury is the full tearing of the ligament. 

This is the same injury that former Bills WR Deonte Harty suffered in 2022 with the New Orleans Saints. When Harty came over to the Bills in free agency, the concern was how effective he would be coming off the injury. According to the research, 80 percent of skill players return to play the following season but only 27 percent return to their prior level of performance the year after. The threshold was meeting 80 percent of the statistical production from the season before injury. We did not see Harry return to his prior levels and he was cut after the season. 

Fortunately, Davis bounced back in a big way with 1,042 rushing yards at Vanderbilt, well above what he did two and three years prior at Temple. He followed that up with 1,129 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns after transferring to Kentucky. Any concern about his ability to produce following the injury was silenced with those back-to-back years. 

Final Thoughts

Other than acclimation injuries from college to the NFL during training camp and the running back position taking a beating, there aren’t any injury concerns moving forward for Davis. 

Davis has a strong chance to make an impact at the next level and could be a great depth option behind James Cook. 

I wish Ray Davis the best of luck and to stay healthy this season. 

Top Photo Credit: Matt Stone/Louisville Courier Journal