Few NFL Draft prospects have risen as suddenly as Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis this offseason. After spending the season as a relative afterthought, Davis is now getting Day 2 buzz in a linebacker class that’s strong in that range. Here, we’ll analyze the reasons for the excitement surrounding Davis, and we’ll project him into a role in the NFL.
Jamin Davis NFL Draft Profile
- Height: 6’2 5/8″
- Weight: 234 pounds
- Position: Linebacker
- School: Kentucky
- Current Year: Redshirt Junior
Tony Pauline’s Jamin Davis Scouting Report
Positives: Outstanding run-defending linebacker coming off a career season. Aggressive and displays a terrific head for the ball. Attacks opponents and brings ball handlers down in the open field. Sells out on the blitz, but also flows well laterally to the play.
Quickly locates the action, immediately diagnoses plays, and works his hands to stay off blocks. Easily changes direction and gets depth on pass drops. Displays solid skill in coverage and possesses good hands for the interception.
Negatives: Despite his forty time during pro day testing (4.47s) shows average playing speed and burst. Produced for just one year at the college level.
Analysis: Davis is a well-built linebacker who showed tremendous development in his game last season and really popped off the film. He’s physical and aggressive but is also a disciplined defender with solid instincts. Although I would like to see Davis play to his forty time, I do think he could flourish on the inside of a 3-4 alignment.
Jamin Davis Player Profile
Jamin Davis has a strong athletic profile. He seems like the kind of prospect that would have been coveted by some of college football’s top teams. That wasn’t the case back in 2017, however. Davis was a three-star recruit from Ludowici, Georgia. Even with a 4.7 40-yard dash and a 35-inch vertical at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, he failed to draw considerable Power Five interest.
By the end of his recruiting cycle, Jamin Davis only had a few offers as an outside linebacker. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets had presented him with an offer, as had the Louisville Cardinals. Purdue, NC State, and Georgia State, also showed interest.
However, Davis wanted to play in the SEC. Luckily for him, an opportunity presented itself. The Kentucky Wildcats were the lone SEC team to offer Davis, and the linebacker would be suiting up in Wildcat blue by 2018.
Jamin Davis’ college football career at Kentucky
Joining a program that had produced NFL Draft picks at linebacker like Danny Trevathan, Avery Williamson, Josh Forrest, and Josh Allen, in the last decade, Davis carried a great deal of potential early. Nevertheless, it would take a year for him to see the field.
Needing to get his weight up, Davis redshirted his first season with Kentucky. When he returned as a redshirt freshman, he was only a rotational contributor, earning 10 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 pass deflection.
Davis saw an uptick in playing time in 2019. He continued to rotate in as a defensive contributor and started the first game of his career against UT Martin. Overall, Davis logged 32 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, 1.0 sack, and an interception, on the season. In 2020, the next natural progression was for Davis to increase his production again, but he greatly exceeded expectations.
As a redshirt junior in 2020, Davis played in 10 games, flying around the field for the Wildcats. The Kentucky linebacker was his team’s leading tackler and managed to log double-digit tackles in eight games on the year.
Overall, Davis amassed 102 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 pass deflections, and a forced fumble. On January 8, after the conclusion of Kentucky’s 2020 campaign, Davis officially declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jamin Davis’ best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
It’s no accident that Davis is a late riser. He wasn’t well-known in college football before 2020, and even now, he only has 11 starts under his belt. Davis is clearly somewhat raw, and he needs more experience. He can also stand to improve as a run defender.
Nevertheless, the Kentucky linebacker has flashed the necessary building blocks to be a versatile starter in time, and that upside will be coveted on the NFL Draft stage, especially if he impresses in interviews. He also tested tremendously well at his pro day. He accrued a class-best Relative Athletic Score of 9.98, which featured a 4.49 40-yard dash, a 42-inch vertical, and a 132-inch broad jump.
Earlier in the offseason, Davis was regarded as more of an early-to-mid Day 3 pick, but as more evaluators have gotten around to his tape, excitement has built quickly. A few weeks ago, Davis was a surefire Top 100 pick. Then a second-round pick. And now, after his exhilarating pro day performance, Round 1 is a definite possibility.
Where does Jamin Davis project in the NFL?
Davis has shown flashes of route recognition and instinct, but as of now, the most consistent aspect of his game is his physical profile. Davis is an enthralling athletic specimen with the length, explosiveness, and range to be a multifaceted starter in the NFL.
If he can keep honing the mental side of his game, his coverage upside makes him a nice fit as a WILL linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. In that alignment, teams like the Washington Football Team, Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, and New York Jets, make sense as potential fits.
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While there is an ideal fit for Davis, his athletic upside does give him some flexibility. He’d also make sense in a 3-4 scheme as an inside linebacker, where he’d be able to provide more versatility as an extra pass rusher.
The potential is great with the Kentucky linebacker, which is why he’s all of a sudden in the Round 1 conversation. Teams always want to acquire the most moldable clay, and it doesn’t get much more moldable than Davis.
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