The New York Jets ended their second day of the NFL Draft by selecting OLB DeMario Davis out of Arkansas State University with the 77th overall pick. This is an interesting pick, because there seemed to be players of higher value at positions of need for New York with Bobby Massie and George Iloka still on the board. However, Davis certainly plays Rex Ryan’s brand of football.
Other than the fact that Davis possess great strength (32 reps) and speed (4.53 40), he is extremely explosive, having posted a 124″ broad jump, coupled with a 38.5″ vertical, both of which set the bar for Outside Linebackers in the entire class this year. Over his past two seasons at Arkansas State, Davis had 132 tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 interceptions. Most importantly, Davis plays with some of the greatest tenacity you will see from any player selected this year. He repeatedly delivered punishing hits last season, leading ESPN’s Mel Kiper to deem him a man among boys at his level of play. Several analysts believe Davis would have been an earlier selection had he played in a major conference.
Davis is also a very versatile player. At 6’2″, 235 pounds, he can certainly afford to add a little weight, but he has the combination of strength, speed, and athleticism that will allow Rex Ryan to move him all over the box, and he could end up filling the void left at Inside Linebacker when Bart Scott eventually departs. Ryan certainly loves versatile players in his defense, especially at the linebacker position.
Davis does not necessarily fit the mold of the pass rushing OLB that the Jets desperately needed, but his versatility and intensity should make him a valuable piece of Ryan’s puzzle, while his outstanding speed leaves much room for improvement in his pass rushing abilities. Expect to see him delivering some highlight reel hits on special teams early in the season.