Football Intelligence –He's got great reactive quickness and mental processing between the tackles. He sees pullers and screens developing quickly and will spring into action to get in front of the play. Shows a lot of confidence in his eyes and typically finds the football as a result.
Tackling –He's an excellent finisher despite his shorter arms. If he's working inside the phone booth between the tackles, he'll cut down ball carriers of all shapes and sizes. His pads carry a lot of power and he carries a lot of momentum into first contact with consistency.
Block Shedding –He brings it physically against offensive lineman, often producing heavy hitting collisions that jolt blockers and stun momentum, which allows him to carry past the block and push to the football. If hands clamp on his numbers, he's out of options and won't likely disengage.
Competitive Toughness –Reckless, ruthless aggression between the tackles. I love how eager he is to pop his pads, he's an old-school throwback as a plug defender. Brings a lot of sturdy gap play in run defense. Sturdy, compact build gives him natural leverage.
Lateral Mobility –Lacks the necessary range to really be considered for a role as a true MIKE. He isn't necessarily dynamic in short spaces either. His best work on film comes from downhill and expanding his role beyond that will be challenging due to the athletic profile.
Coverage Skills –He just doesn't have it athletically. There's enough IQ and peripheral vision to ensure he's not lost in space but passers can throw around him and there's little lateral or vertical mobility to take away the throwing lanes in zone. Not a candidate for turn and run.
Gap Shooting Ability –Anticipatory skills allow him to lean into the LOS as the play is developing and beat blockers to the spot. He isn't going to inspire with his first step explosiveness but he's still had success challenging the backfield as an ILB.
Feet/Change of Direction –There's need for time in transition, he's not the most graceful or fleet of foot in the open field. Instead, he excels in straight line situations and needs to be aware of not overrunning the play, as he'll struggle to work back and find the ball.
Flexibility –Pretty restricted through the hips and torso. He isn't going to hinge and get any notable transitions with quickness, nor is he going to explode laterally and rebound off a cut from the ball carrier. He's a player to be worked between the numbers.
First Step Quickness –It's more anticipation than actual explosiveness. He doesn't have a lot of quick twitch, but it's fine. It simply boxes him into preferred schemes and preferred roles. He's got a spot on many rosters waiting for him, just not high snap percentage.
BEST TRAIT – Tackling
WORST TRAIT – Functional Athleticism
BEST FILM – LSU (2018)
WORST FILM – Georgia (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Deshaun Davis is a throwback. A physical presence between the tackles, Davis won't be a prospect to appeals to everyone. Teams implementing a lot of one gap run fits for their LBs would do well to implement Davis on running down and distances out of base personnel. Davis will be a good rotational linebacker at the NFL level, but asking him to play more will expose some of his limitations in athletic ability and upside vs. the pass. Limited STs ability due to open field athleticism.
ROUND GRADE - Fifth Round