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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: LB Jamin Davis

  • The Draft Network
  • January 26, 2021
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PROSPECT SUMMARY - JAMIN DAVIS

Jamin Davis projects as a WILL linebacker at the NFL level and appears to have the ceiling of an impact NFL starter. Davis is long, rangy, and explosive and that correlated to several big plays in the passing game throughout the course of Kentucky’s 2020 campaign. Davis exploded onto the scene in 2020 and wasted little time making the leap to the NFL, but his lack of high volume sample size as a featured player is cause for buyer beware. There’s plenty of untapped potential in Davis’ game and his length flashes to deconstruct blocks while he also showcases the processing power after the snap to duck under blocks and spill opposing ball-carriers into pursuit. But he has yet to master a feel of scraping through traffic game over game and his overall quickness and confidence in decision-making leaves the door open for confident passers and ball-carriers to exploit small creases caused by some delays. Davis has very good range and long speed that will draw the attention of NFL decision-makers—as second-level speed is at a premium right now due to league trends. 

Ideal Role: WILL linebacker (Developmental MIKE).

Scheme Fit: 4-3.

FILM EVALUATION

Written by: Kyle Crabbs

Games watched: Florida (2020), Tennessee (2020), Georgia (2020), Mississippi State (2020), Mississippi (2020)

Best Game Studied: Mississippi (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Florida (2020) 

Tackling: His range is very good and he does have sideline-to-sideline capabilities as he masters his processing. His length and tackle radius are quite high and he will do well playing off of blockers to disengage and wrap up the ball-carrier. He has delivered some explosive hits in coverage to attempt to jar the football loose. 

Football IQ: He’s a one-year starter with inexperience that may cause some apprehension about dropping him into a starter’s role early. He’s not fully instinctive just yet and as a result his transitions can come on a bit of a lag—resulting in conceding a half a step early in plays. His ability to impact all three downs will help him fortify his resume for playing time early and he showcased good awareness in pass coverage relative to his experience. 

Competitive Toughness: Davis has plenty of pop and sticking power in close quarters and that allows him to play with an enforcer mentality. He’s not a true hammer but he’s twitched up and that allows him to punch above his weight class when challenging the pile. Effort and pursuit skills (Florida 2020) illustrated good, earnest effort to flow and hunt the football, even on chaotic plays that doubled back across the field. Davis played a ton of special teams as well, including a blocking field goal versus Georgia in 2020. 

Pass Coverage Ability: Davis logged three interceptions in 2020 and otherwise showed some desirable coverage ability to ROBOT the middle of the field versus crossers or to shade and drive into hook/curl versus multiple route releases from the perimeter. Davis’ length is a huge asset to disrupt throwing windows and squeeze the catch point against man coverage. His transitions out of read steps will need to hasten, but he also showcased good disruptive ability against tight ends in the contact window. 

Run Defending: Scrape exchanges and mesh point reads aren’t fully fleshed out just yet but when he sees it, he’s quick to gain ground and attack the line of scrimmage. Tackling here didn’t showcase a ton of issues and his athleticism and length allow him to be more ambitious with his angles. He showcased admirable effort in pursuit. 

Block Deconstruction: Length here is a major plus. He’s got the wingspan needed to bench press himself clean of traffic. His hand usage is still a work in progress, but he appears to process his extension abilities well from the outside in. Putting him in a phone booth in close quarters offers less consistent results and he may defer to simply plugging up gaps and going from there. 

Lateral Mobility: Sideline-to-sideline range is present as a scrape defender. Davis also offers good short-area agility to duck underneath blocks electively and blow up a hole to challenge the ball-carrier. His twitch and fluidity shows up on reps as a spy/blitzer to shadow before driving forward and ducking into an adjacent gap in protection. 

Flexibility: Davis does appear somewhat high hipped, but his transitions are nonetheless fluid and natural to flip and get vertical in zone drops or carry routes over the middle of the field. Davis offers ample spring and explosion to drive into ball-carriers and has plus hitting power as a result. 

Leadership: Davis logged just 11 starts in his playing career at Kentucky (36 games). His lack of experience as a staple of the defense prevented him from commandeering an on-field leadership role, but there’s no reason to think with his playstyle that he can’t earn respect from teammates. Davis appeared to make several “move” calls from formation to prompt late shifts from his defensive front. 

Versatility: Davis projects best in his current form as a WILL linebacker, but he does appear—thanks to his length, range, and explosiveness—to offer the ceiling of a MIKE linebacker. His special teams prowess and experience give him a clear and obvious path to making a rookie impact. 

Prospect Comparison: Willie Gay Jr. (2020 NFL Draft, Kansas City Chiefs)

SCOUT GRADES

TDN Consensus: 81.25/100

Kyle Crabbs: 81.00/100

Joe Marino: 81.00/100

Jordan Reid: 83.00/100

Drae Harris: 80.00/100

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