Ron Rivera has lived it. As a player and as a head coach in his previous stop, a linebacker - especially a linebacker with a certain trait - can make all the difference to a defense.
“At that position, we were looking for a high-impact guy, and that's who Jamin (Davis) was,'' said the Washington Football Team head coach.
Washington can look back two years ago, when it chose defensive star Chase Young high rather than drafting a QB, and it can look to a few months ago, when whatever opportunities to manipulate their way toward picking a QB never quite came together, leaving the WFT taking another defensive front-seven guy.
Time - and the performance of vet newcomer Ryan Fitzpatrick - will tell whether the QB decisions have been the right ones. But linebacker Jamin Davis as the pick at No. 19 overall?
"High impact,'' is Rivera's vision for Davis, who was only a one-year starter at Kentucky but who ascended quickly up NFL teams' draft boards once he had a chance to add workouts to his film. And now Rivera, thinking back to his time in charge of the Carolina Panthers, has another vision.
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“You have to have linebackers who can run,” Rivera said via the Washington Post. “We were in Carolina, we had Luke (Kuechly) and we had Thomas Davis. What we lacked was that third guy that could run, just flat-out run, because if something were to happen to Luke or Thomas, we’d be deficient at that position.''
Is Washington’s defense "deficient''? Not in very many ways, no. Last year is was the force that pushed the WFT to the NFC East title, with Young winning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Davis is among the favorites to win that same award this year. And why?
"The speed,'' Rivera said, "takes a guy from being a solid player to being an impact player.''