If the Detroit Lions have any real hope of turning things around in 2021, they must get better at linebacker.
The Lions need more physicality, and they need more attitude out of the group. They need linebackers who evoke fear into ball-carriers.
One such player who could really give the linebacking corps a boost would be LB Jamin Davis from the University of Kentucky.
This guy is impressive, and he has one of the better names for a linebacker.
Davis burst onto the scene in 2019, and put up 32 total tackles -- 12 solo and 20 assists. And, he really came into his own in 2020, posting 89 total tackles -- 43 solo and 46 assists.
When I went back and watched film of Davis in 2020 vs. N.C. State, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, he grew on me. I found myself feeling excited watching him play, and that does not happen all that often.
Davis brings a brand of youth, physicality and energy the Lions currently do not have in any of their linebackers.
Davis plays football like it is important to him, and he looks like he cares about winning the game. This is exactly what management needs to infuse into its defense in Detroit.
ILB Jamin Davis - 6-foot-4, 234 pounds (unofficial 4.37-4.49 40-yard dash time, per 247Sports.com)
Grade: B (Good player, but not elite; he's good enough to win with, however)
Kelly's draft board: Late second-third round
Lean-cut and physical, rigid linebacker, with an above-average motor. A very solid tackling machine. Has a little Lawrence Taylor in him the way he is built and the way he plays the game. Looks active and alert once the ball is snapped. Best when left clean or can fight through trash to make high-impact, strong wrapping and jarring tackles. Punishing, brute-force tackler. Very dependable tackler. Great tackling technique. High-impact hitter.
Inconsistent hand usage at the point of attack to shed blocks, and tends to not be able to come off blocks of offensive linemen. Struggled to even get off blocks of some tight ends. Once got shoved out of the way. Sometimes hits in with a shoulder. Struggles to always come off block in time to make the tackle, despite best efforts. Lacks explosiveness at the point of attack, due to rigid hips. Struggles against big men. At times, gets handled by blockers. Needs work and better technique with his hands to shed.
Decent compete. Works and fights to get to the ball-carrier. Decent football playing speed. However, tightness in hips really shows up on film in space. Really looks rigid in his movements in space. Can whiff and miss in space, if he does not have it lined up right.
Able to drop into zone coverage, and excels at covering backs and providing support on screens. Dependable coverage on running back screens. Had a couple of interceptions during his college career. Lacks burst or second gear, but does have some redeeming value as a blitzing linebacker. Wants to get to the quarterback (check out N.C. State film).
Reminds me of Alec Ogletree, who has played for the Giants, Jets and Rams. Davis brings a real strong presence to a defense, and he will be a force to be reckoned with. Has a dominant personality on film.
If Davis is sitting on the board in the third round, he would be the perfect selection for Detroit, as the franchise attempts to become a much more physical and dominant team in the NFC North.
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