Last year was Jarrad Davis’ first year in the league after being the Detriot Lions 1st round pick in the 2017 draft.
He played collegiately for the Florida Gators and had himself a very nice career finishing with over 200 total tackles. So, for many Gators fans, it should come as no surprise that Jarrad has had an almost seamless transition into the NFL.
Let’s look at where he’s headed in year two.
Ain’t No Rook
Davis led all rookies last year in tackles with 96. He did that all while being the primary defensive signal caller at middle linebacker. He’s responsible for getting the whole defense set up, and in position, before the snap of the ball. He is also responsible for any changes during the pre-snap reads. The heart and soul of a defense are controlled by the middle linebacker. That’s why it is so impressive that Jarrad was able to fill in as a rookie and take over.
The Lions have touted some impressive defensive lines in the past few years, but their linebacker corps has been particularly weak. Last season the front office tried to shore up that leak by drafting multiple linebackers. After they nabbed Davis in the first round, they went after former Volunteer Jalen Reeves-Maybin. He had an injury-filled career in Knoxville, but he was a prolific tackler when healthy. He went over the 100-tackle mark twice. He was a low-risk investment for the Lions due to his injuries. If he can grow into an NFL starter then the Lions will possess a formidable duo.
With Davis and Reeves-Maybin the Lions improved at the position but they aren’t satisfied yet. They brought in several veteran linebackers during the offseason to provide some quality depth and experience to an otherwise thin group. What the Lions really want is for Davis to blossom into a defensive star. He appears primed to do that. Some folks have called him the next Ray Lewis, which is lofty praise for a one-year player. If he can live up to even half of that hype, then he will have an incredible career and should lock down the middle of the Lions defensive for years to come.
The Bearded One
Davis was a top 15 run stopper last season according to Pro Football Focus. He was also an above average pass rusher, but he struggled in pass coverage. That is an area of his game that will need more work. He will also have to deal with learning his second defense in as many years. His new head coach, Matt Patricia, is going to lean on Davis heavy next season as he takes over a depleted defense that desperately needs a boost at the linebacker position.
Patrica is a first-year head coach who has been coaching in New England for the past 13 years. He was the linebackers coach from 2006-2010. During his time in New England, he helped mold the likes of Mike Vrabel, Teddy Bruschi, Junior Seau, Donta Hightower, and Jerod Mayo.
The hype surrounding Davis starts to become clearer when you consider the sort of coaching he is about to get. If the Lions’ staff can get Davis to take a leap in year 2, we could see the birth of a star at linebacker next season.
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