Name: Jarrad Davis
Position fit: ILB
Stats to know: Davis ranked 209th among all FBS inside linebackers with at least 400 snaps played in tackling efficiency in 2017
What he does best:
- Elite speed and explosiveness. Changes directions in a flash.
- Willing to take on and deliver a blow to bigger blockers.
- Viable pass-rusher because of his agility, burst and ability to time blitzes inside effectively; ranked 15th among FBS ILBs with at least 30 rushes in 2016 in pass-rush productivity.
- Can close in a hurry when going forward. Can be an asset to a defense in short zones and perhaps a “spy” role.
- Uses his quickness and toughness at the point of attack to win leverage on his gap when moving laterally, allowing him to effectively defeat blocks.
- Can run with tight ends and backs downfield, flip his hips without breaking stride and look back to find the ball.
- A weapon in the blitz game.
- Out of control far too often on tackles – does not break down, tends to leave his feet far too often and never seems to get squared up to the runner.
- Has the physical traits to play in coverage but tends to misdiagnose targets or lose his man in space.
- Will get caught playing too close to the line of scrimmage and can get cut off easily on off tackle runs.
- His play tailed off at the end of the season when he tried to play against Arkansas in Week 10 and Alabama in the conference championship game with injuries; he was clearly tentative at the snap and too easily controlled by blockers.
Player comparison: Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks
Like Wagner, Davis is an elite athlete but is undersized for an inside linebacker. While that can inhibit him in some ways, Davis has everything needed to be a pro bowl linebacker.
Bottom line: Davis is an excellent athlete who possesses the first-step explosiveness to beat blocks to the point of attack as well as threaten the QB on pass rushes. He also has the speed and agility to drop effectively in coverage, and can stay with tight ends and backs all over the field. If he can improve his tackling, as well as become more consistent with his run keys, he clearly has the athletic skill set to be an every-down player at the NFL level.