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Kaden Davis, Davion Davis Hope USFL Boost Gets Them NFL Job

Wide receivers ready to work in Cardinals' preseason opener

Wide receivers Kaden Davis (left) and Davion Davis (right) are battling for spots on the roster.
Wide receivers Kaden Davis (left) and Davion Davis (right) are battling for spots on the roster.

There's a lot of similarities between wide receivers Davion Davis and Kaden Davis.

They share a last name, although not related. They are both fighting for a roster spot. The duo were signed on the same day, on the eve of training camp. And they were playing professional football last month, just not in the NFL.

As members of the Michigan Panthers and Birmingham Stallions respectively, Kaden and Davion played in the USFL.

"Opportunities (such as the USFL) are great," Kaden said. "In football, I mean, a lot of people say NFL stands for Not For Long, so I've learned that you can't ever take this game for granted."

Kaden has first-hand experience. As an undrafted free agent out of NW Missouri State, he signed with the Broncos and spent time on the practice squad. Once he was released, he inked a deal to join the USFL's Panthers. After the season, the Cardinals called offering him a spot on the training camp roster and Kaden wasn't going to pass it up.

"Throughout training camp, I've learned that you got to make the most of these opportunities because you never know how many second chances you're going to get," Kaden said.

Kaden believes that his time in the USFL has prepared him for his second chance in the NFL. That's where Davion's mindset is too as the duo prepare to play Friday night at State Farm Stadium against Denver in the Cardinals' preseason opener.

"I think the USFL really helped with being in shape coming into training camp," Davion said "The USFL prepared me for being hit again. I got hit quite a bit, so I think my body's prepared for it."

From a technical standpoint, Davion's USFL head coach, Skip Holtz, harped on the wide receivers understanding defensive coverages. It allowed Davion to watch film differently, adding that it even made him "want to watch film even more and see what technique and coverages" the defense was in.

Davion and Kaden didn't know each other until they joined the Cardinals roster. Even though they are competing against one another for one of the 53 roster spots, Davion is glad to have a fellow USFL-er by his side.

"It's good to be on the same path as Kaden because just like I am, he's coming in and working his butt off," Davion said. "We all (USFL players) are like a big family. We didn't know each other, but we know we played in the USFL, and it was like a friendship right off the bat."

The Davis boys now have a new USFL veteran on the Cardinals roster. After the injury to Marlon Mack, the Cardinals announced the signing of Kaden's USFL teammate, running Stevie Scott.

All three have work to do to make the team, but that's what the preseason is about.

"In the NFL, if you're not the one or two, you better be able to play special teams," offensive coordinator Drew Petzing said. "If you provide value there, I mean, the amount of stories of guys who made their inroads on special teams, and then became receivers, it's a long list."

Petzing brought up his time with NFL Pro Bowler Adam Thielen, who blossomed as a special teamer and transitioned into a great wide receiver.

On the depth chart, Kaden is listed behind Greg Dortch as the kick returner. Davion is also behind Dortch, but as the punt returner.

When it comes to making the team, Davion said he'll do everything in his power to make it happen.

"Whatever this team needs me to be able to do, even if I have to take out trash every day before I go out on the field," Davion said. "I'll do it."

"It's all about taking care of the football," Kaden added. "That's the most important factor every time we're out there, and if we do that, we'll be set."

The first time that the Cardinals will be out there is against the Broncos, Kaden's former team.

"I was on the Broncos last year, so to play against a lot of those guys that I already know, I'm looking forward to it," Kaden said. "But, I know who my guys are now and who I got to go against."

Images from 2023 Cardinals Training Camp at State Farm Stadium