New York Jets NFL Draft Deep Dive – Ashtyn Davis

James Kuntz with a deep dive on New York Jets 3rd round pick, defensive back Ashtyn Davis

One of the most surprising picks of Joe Douglas’ inaugural draft class is California Safety Ashtyn Davis, who was selected with the Jets’ first 3rd round pick. Judging from Jets twitter, Davis has quickly become a fan favorite among the 2020 draft class. This article provides a closer look at Davis’ strengths and weaknesses as a player in the form of a scouting report.

Name: Ashtyn Davis           Position: Safety
Height: 6’1”                           Weight: 200 lbs
School: Cal                             Hometown: Santa Cruz, California
D.O.B.: 10/10/96 (23)

Tackling:
Aggressive and physical tackler, albeit inconsistent. Possesses bad habit of lowering head when slash tackling. Needs to wrap up more. Takes overaggressive angles in the open field even when he’s the last line of defense. Often overzealous in run support; wish he would concede a yard or two in order to ensure he brings down the ball carrier.

Coverage:
Appears to have the range, but lacks the processing skills, to be immediately successful in Cover 1. Better suited for deployment in Cover 2 or Cover 3. Unrefined in man coverage, but survives due to athleticism.

Versatility:
A swiss army knife. Was deployed in Cover 1, Cover 2, Cover 3, man coverage, and as a blitzer. Core Special teamer and returner. Unlike many sub-package players, Davis can be deployed without giving away coverage/usage.

Processing:
Very good click-and-close ability. Has shown instances of being a ballhawk, but likely needs more reps in Cover 1 in order to take on this label in the NFL. Wildly inconsistent run fits. Way too aggressive in plugging holes in the run game, especially in Cover 1. It may take getting burned and benched in order to fix this bad habit.

Toughness/Physicality:
Should not be stereotyped based on his track background. Does not shy away from taking on blockers who are bigger than him in the run game. As personal background indicates, both physically and mentally tough.

Ball Skills:
Better ball production in 2018 compared to 2019, but flashes enticing ball skills. With more film study and more reps, could become a “ball hawk.” Often tries to jar the football loose when assisting on a tackle.

Athleticism:
All-american hurdler. Elite athleticism, very twitchy, above average change of direction skills.

Personal:
Walked on the football team. Won team’s Joe Roth award for courage, attitude, and sportsmanship in 2019. Overcame family challenges related to father’s drug abuse.

Games Watched: Ole Miss (2019), Washington (2019), Oregon (2019)

SUMMARY:
Ashtyn Davis projects as a developmental free safety prospect. In Year 1, Davis can be a core special teamer and sub-package defender, and could earn a starting role as a free safety as the year progresses. While he possesses intriguing athleticism, Davis needs to improve his tackling and speed up his processing if he wants to reach his ceiling in the NFL. Davis’ ceiling is as high as his processing ability takes him. He has shown flashes reminiscent of Eddie Jackson in college, the question is whether he can be more consistent in these flashes in the NFL.

ON DAVIS BEING DRAFTED BY THE JETS:
The Jets are a good fit for Davis, who may have been challenged by an immediate starting role if drafted by another team. Davis can contribute immediately on special teams and sub-packages for the Jets, while he hones his skills as a free safety during practice in Year 1. Davis should be able to take on a starting free safety role in Year 2 and beyond should they choose not to extend Marcus Maye.