When former Cal safety Ashtyn Davis was selected in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft it was assumed he would have an immediate impact on special teams, both as a gunner on kick coverage and as a kick returner.
The trade that sent safety Jamal Adams to Seattle led to speculation that Davis might get playing time on defense as well in 2020.
But Kristian Dyer of Jets Country reminded us recently of the impact Davis, who was a Pac-12 hurdles champion, will have on special teams because of his athleticism.
In a report titled "Rookies Bring Athleticism, Speed to New York Jets Special Teams" Dyer noted that Brant Boyer, the Jets special teams coordinator, should have more talent to work with after a draft "that prioritized speed and position flexibility."
“[T]he new guys, Ashtyn and [La'Mical] Perine and several others have done a nice job, but it’s hard to tell with just two and a half weeks of practice and we really haven’t scrimmaged yet, and that’s going to be the tell all,” Boyer said, according to Jets Country. “Will they tackle? Will they block? Can they play with power? Can they run with these guys once we go full speed and turn it up? So, that’s going to be the tell all when it comes down to it here in the last two or three weeks.”
You want athleticism? Take a look at this little move by Davis during a Jets practice:
Granted, Davis won't be doing many backflips while charging downfield on kick coverage or defending passes from a safety spot. But it is impressive.
With Jamal Adams gone, there is reason to believe Davis will get some playing time on defense as a rookie, as well as on special teams.
Here is what Rick Serritella of NFL Draft Bible told Kristian Dyer of Jets Country earlier this month:
“The selection of Davis was a somewhat foreshadowing move now that we have seen how the deck was dealt,” said Serritella. “His versatility to line up in the slot, linebacker or adaptability to play either safety position provides defensive coordinator Gregg Williams with the chess piece he desires. Entering his final season at Cal, Davis bulked up an additional 15 pounds in preparation for his transition to the pros. Despite the limited offseason activity, the Jets will have no choice but to depend on Davis to play a key role in 2020."
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