ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Football Team thinks they got a steal in Jamin Davis at No. 19 overall in last weekend's NFL Draft.
While that remains to be seen, one thing we know for sure is that Davis is going to be coached up by three ex-linebackers in Ron Rivera, Jack Del Rio and Steve Russ.
That should benefit him moving forward just like it's a strong benefit that he had the coaching of Mark Stoops at Kentucky.
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The longtime defensive coach wasn't a linebacker in his playing days but he knows that side of the ball, and there's no doubt that Davis grew under Stoops tutelage.
Davis went from a mid-round prospect to a first-round pick in the 2020 season because "he got better with each and every practice, every snap," Stoops told David Harrison and yours truly (Chris Russell) on the "Locked on Washington Football Team" podcast Friday.
"We've been saying that for years for Jamin (about his potential). He prepared. He worked extremely hard,” Stoops said.
Stoops feels that Davis will best fit in the NFL as a MIKE linebacker eventually, although he has the versatility to play all three positions in a 4-3 and both inside positions if Washington were to go back to a 3-4, which is what Kentucky largely utilized.
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This is what Washington was looking for. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was not going to have the bulk and frame to convert long-term to the middle spot. The WFT has Jon Bostic under contract for one more year and they had a huge question at weakside linebacker.
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Defensive coordinator Del Rio recently said that Davis would start 'outside' but did not specify which position. The guess is his weakside. Even though Davis is good in coverage, it might be a lot to ask him early on to mostly work on the strong side (largely over the tight end).
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Davis had four pass breakups in his final year at Kentucky per The SIS Football Rookie Handbook, but allowed five broken tackles, so that's something to work on and clean up.
He wasn't in man coverage a ton (26 snaps per ProFootballFocus.com) and perhaps there's a reason for that. Per SIS, the offense had a 100% positive EPA when targeting Davis in man. That's not good but again -- nobody thinks that Davis is anywhere close to a finished product.
Stoops said Davis was 'staying hungry and working hard' even now that he's made it.
Maybe that's because Davis and Stoops know that he has a lot of work to do - and that he'll have to do it quickly. .. like the learning “sponge” the coach says Jamin is.