TE DAVIS SAYS HE'LL BE A JET
By MARK CANNIZZARO
Vernon Davis has a gut feeling, and it's one that either will excite Jets fans or horrify them as Saturday's NFL Draft approaches.
"I think I'm going to the Jets," the Maryland tight end told The Post yesterday. "If I'd say anything, I'd say the Jets will draft me. I'm pretty sure, if nothing crazy happens, it'll be the Jets."
Davis is a 6-31/4, 254-pound physical freak of nature who runs faster than 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash and can leap over the Empire State Building without a running start. He's thought of as a can't-miss prospect, a dynamic player who can change the game for any offense.
Think the moribund, pop-gun Jets' offense, devoid of a single explosive player, can use someone like Davis?
"If [the Jets] know what's right for them, they'll take me, a guy that can make plays," he said at a lunchtime interview in Manhattan set up by representatives from EAS, the supplement drink he'll endorse as a pro. "I don't look at myself as a tight end; I look at myself more as a playmaker.
"I feel I can come in and be one of the best tight ends in the league. It seems like every goal I set for myself I tend to reach it. My philosophy is, somebody might beat me, but they're going to have to bleed to do it."
Asked if he believes he can come in and be an immediate impact player, Davis said, "Oh, I know I can, right away."
Told of the black hole the tight end position has been over the years for the Jets, who since 1992 have used seven draft picks on tight ends, three of them in the first round (Johnny Mitchell, Kyle Brady and Anthony Becht, where have you gone?), Davis was undaunted.
Told that sports-radio callers already are ranting against the Jets taking another tight end in the first round, Davis said, "My answer to that is - and I'm not trying to knock anyone - but who do they have now?"
The answer would be Chris Baker (eight starts in 52 games, 52 career catches) and journeyman Doug Jolley (118 catches in four seasons and a non-factor as a blocker).
Davis was asked if he would embrace some New York competition with Giants brash TE Jeremy Shockey. Davis' eyes lit up.
"Oh, yeah, he'll definitely have some competition here," he said. "Oh, yeah."
Davis said he's well aware of Shockey's game and those of the other top tight ends in the NFL.
"I can make people miss and run them over, too," Davis said. "I'm explosive. With that, you've got a Jeremy Shockey and Antonio Gates mixed in one."
Davis said he visited the Jets at Weeb Ewbank Hall three weeks ago, spending time with owner Woody Johnson and head coach Eric Mangini.
Davis, asked what his lasting impression was, said, "I could tell by the way they were talking, the way we bonded, that they liked me. It just seemed like it was good."
Davis said he'll wait for his name to be announced in the green room at Radio City on Saturday. Told by The Post that we'd be at the Jets' complex for the draft on Saturday, Davis smiled and said, "Well, I'll see you at the complex on Saturday then."