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Former Arizona State DL D.J. Davidson Staying True to Himself

Davidson opened up on his time under Antonio Pierce and what his visits were like with the Giants prior to being drafted by them.

Standing at 6-foot-3 and 327 pounds, former Arizona State defensive lineman D.J. Davidson is quite the giant man. 

So it only makes sense that Davidson landed with the New York Giants over the weekend, as the organization drafted Davidson with their fifth-round pick. 

On a conference call with reporters following his selection, Davidson went over his pre-draft process and detailed his contact with the Giants.

"I went on the (top) 30 visit like towards the end of the 30-visit deadline. So I went on a 30 visit and talked with (defensive line) Coach (Andre) Patterson, talked with everybody, the GMs, player personnel, the whole thing when they brought me in there, and had constant phone calls," said Davidson. "I had Zoom calls with Coach Patterson and (assistant defensive line) Coach (Bryan) Cox. And they're amazing. The building is amazing, the coaches are amazing. I love the Giants."

After spending five seasons with Arizona State, Davidson impressed at the NFL Scouting Combine during drills. 

Perhaps the most important facet was the interviews, where he sold the Giants on who he was on a personal level.

Davidson said, "I believe what made the positive impression is who I am as a person. I went back to my roots. I stayed true to myself. I stayed true and kept it real with the owners, with Coach Patterson, with all of them and what my goals are, just to be the best teammate, to be the best player that I can be, have them challenge me every day, my good days and bad days, and continue to respond in a positive way.

"I said those things to them, and I think that's the main thing is just me as a person, they know the character that I am and just keeping the main thing the main thing, coming in, be the best team player, and just really put myself in the best ability and the best situation in their defensive scheme and what they have for this next season coming up."

During his stay at Arizona State, Davidson accrued 137 tackles (16 for loss), five sacks and one pass defended. He started all 12 games for the Sun Devils in 2021 and won the team's Curley Culp award, which is given to ASU's top defensive lineman. 

Davidson also played under Antonio Pierce, former Giants legend and Arizona State defensive coordinator before taking a job with the Las Vegas Raiders in the offseason. 

While he hasn't directly spoken with Pierce about his new team. Davidson is well aware of the standard he set in New York. 

"No, I actually didn't talk to Coach AP that much throughout this process because he's with the Raiders. He never really talked to me about the Giants or anything like that. I know he played with the Giants when he was DC at Arizona State, he always put up his film. Always saw Twitter clips of him being a monster on the field, coming downhill, making tackles for loss, covering in coverage, all those types of things," Davidson said.

"That's what really inspired me as a player, seeing my defensive coordinator in that position. And, I mean, it's the Giants. Knowing he played there and seeing that, I want to live up to what he lived up to and be on that level with him."

Davidson's goal is to be the ultimate puzzle piece for the Giants. This was his answer when asked what role he envisions with his new team:

"I would say primary nose tackle, but also at the 3-technique as well, be versatile. I expect myself to pick up on things very quickly and make sure I continue to stay in shape and continue to do the right things that I have been doing to get to this point," he said.

"As I said before, stay true to myself, stay true to my identity, and just really play for my teammates, my new teammates, the Giants, people like Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, and just really playing for them and playing for Coach Patterson and everybody else at this position.

"And that's what I expect from myself, and that's what I hope everybody in the building expects from me, is just be the best person, the best player, the best teammate that I can be."

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