The word surrounding the Washington Football Team, holding the No. 19 pick in the April 29 NFL Draft, is largely about linebacker. We've talked a great deal about Notre Dame's Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah landing there.
But according to The Athletic's Ben Standig, Kentucky's Jamin Davis is a "draft riser" that could be a solidified first-rounder come Thursday evening. Meanwhile, our own colleague Bryan Broaddus is playing with the idea of (jokingly) wishing something would go just a bit awry so Davis might slip from that perch and be available to the Dallas Cowboys well after that No. 19 slot.
What is the attraction for the two NFC East rivals, not to mention the rest of the NFL?
Built like a brick and chiseled to the core, there's no denying that Davis has the intangibles to be a top-notch centerpiece for any defense. A three-down thumper with good speed to play in coverage, the 6-foot-3 defender could be ready to roll into a starting lineup right away.
Over the last month, multiple mocks have featured Washington address its linebacker woes. The Athletic's Dane Brugler recently mocked "JOK" to WFT in his latest seven-round mock draft. According to Standig's report, the former Irish defender could go off the board at No. 17 to the Las Vegas Raiders.
The biggest downside for Davis is his limited first-team. In Lexington, he was a one-year starter for the Wildcats defense, playing in just 11 games due to COVID-19. Adjusting to NFL speed will take time.
The WFT's coach Ron Rivera's love of linebackers knows no bounds. Meanwhile, in Dallas, the view may be less about "need'' than about Davis' place on the Big Board. (Remember, Dallas passed on a chance to add vet K.J. Wright because of the team's comfort level with Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch.)
Still, Broaddus' playful note is worth tucking away for future reference ... while acknowledging that it might require a move back (from No. 10) or up (from No. 44) to make a match.
NFL evaluators - of which Broaddus is one - seem to think highly of Davis' upside. NFL Films' Greg Cosell believes the former Wildcat can light up the game for years to come.
“I love this guy’s tape,” Cosell said on the Ross Tucker Podcast. “I think he is one of the most intriguing linebacker prospects. He’s one of my favorite players to evaluate. This kid has size, length, play speed, coverage ability. The more I watched him the more I felt his combination of length and play speed traits, he transitions beautifully as a three-down backer.”
The WFT seems to think so, enough to consider him at 19. The Cowboys might think so, too, hoping he's somehow available after that.