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2022 NFL Draft: How early should a team draft Jordan Davis?

Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jordan Davis runs in a drill during Georgia Pro Day at William Porter Payne and Porter Otis Payne Indoor Athletic Facility Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most interesting questions to be answered in the 2022 NFL Draft is how early Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis should be drafted, particularly in light of his outstanding performance at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Davis has been a walking meme for years — a man-mountain who stood out literally any time he was amongst regular-sized humans — but few were expecting him to put up dominant athletic testing numbers.

At a trimmed-down 341 pounds, Davis ran the second-fastest 40-yard dash time among defensive tackles, one one-hundredth of a second slower than his teammate Devonte Wyatt, who weighed in almost 40 pounds lighter. Davis also had the best broad jump of any interior defensive lineman, jumping almost a foot further than anybody else and posting a record at that test among players weighing over 300 pounds.

We already knew Davis was a rare athlete from a size perspective, but the combine showed he is also a rare athlete for that size — and an impressive athlete, period.

All of a sudden, he becomes a walking embodiment of “The Planet Theory” espoused by Bill Parcells, that there are only so many human beings walking the planet who have this combination of size and movement skills, so grab one when you get the chance. And now, Davis — who was talked about as a fringe-first round player in places before the combine — is suddenly being discussed as a potential draftee in the top half of the first round and even the top 10.

Davis is a very unusual prospect, and so the question of how early he should be drafted is a difficult one to answer.

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Projection

In four seasons at Georgia, Davis played a total of just 900 snaps on defense in the regular season, and 1,127 counting the playoffs. This most recent season was his biggest workload, and he still played fewer than 400 snaps (378) — a total surpassed by 98 interior defenders in the NFL and 240 in the FBS.

There are reasons for this that weren’t necessarily within his control. Few defenses in college football history have been as stacked as the Georgia unit he was playing on, limiting his workload. Still, it's an issue when it comes to projecting his play in the NFL and how valuable he can be.

We simply haven’t seen Davis handle the kind of workload he will need to have at the NFL level to be worthy of a high draft pick.

At over 340 pounds, Vita Vea is one player Davis is compared to in terms of the kind of positive impact he can bring to a defense and the value that has in today’s NFL. Vea averaged 37 snaps per game in 2021. Davis cleared that mark only four times in his college career, and in only one of those games did he record a 70.0-plus PFF grade.

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