If there was one weakness for the defense of the Washington Football Team in 2020, it was their linebackers.
A unit led by Jon Bostic and Cole Holcomb lacked speed and struggled in coverage. During the 2021 NFL Draft, Washington had two places to go when they were on the clock at No. 19 -- linebacker or offensive line. Ron Rivera and company decided to keep improving the defense.
The Dallas Cowboys selected Micah Parsons with the 12th-overall pick. He was the most-talked about linebacker in the draft but Washington might have found the steal. The WFT selected Jamin Davis, who received a second-round draft grade, out of Kentucky. As time goes on, this pick is gaining more and more praise.
Former NFL offensive lineman Brian Baldinger seems to agree and compared him to Thomas Davis, a former all-pro linebacker that Rivera coached in Carolina.
“Jamin Davis, a guy that was just rising up all the draft boards because he was just a one-year breakout player for Kentucky, he reminds me a lot of Thomas Davis, who played for Ron Rivera in Carolina for a long time,” Baldinger said on NFL Network.
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Davis spent 13 years in Carolina. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection from 2015-2017. Davis totaled 100 or more tackles six times during his tenure with the Panthers. In 2015, Davis was named an all-pro after racking up 105 tackles, 5.5 sacks, four interceptions, four forced fumbles, and seven passes defended.
The Davis that is now in Washington is expected to play in the middle of the defense as a rookie. He is a versatile player and that is what Baldinger admires.
"They are building a beast on defense in Washington right now. And I think Jamin Davis is just a great fit with all of the skills that he has. When you watch him, I mean, there’s not a Kentucky you turned on where you didn’t see Jamin Davis get to the ball. I mean, wherever the play ended, Jamin Davis was right there. Slipping blocks, in all phases of the games. He lines up all over the place. He lined up out of the slot; he can cover; here, he is blitzing off the edge. We are talking about a 4.47 40, very, very fast. All linebackers today have got to be able to cover. You watch him right here; really a nice job of carrying the inside receiver and breaking on the cut right there. Just a feel for the passing game. You want to be a three-down, every-down linebacker; I think he can bring that to Washington. They’ve got a fearsome front four."
The front four in Washington has a chance to be the best in the game, led by Chase Young and Montez Sweat on the edges. William Jackson III joined a secondary that already featured Landon Collins, Kendall Fuller, and Kam Curl. Now, Davis will help take the defense to the next level.
The linebackers were a weakness in Washington in 2020 and the defense still finished No. 2 overall in total defense. If Davis looks like a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate, the WFT will enjoy great success on that side of the ball once again.
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