LB Jamin Davis, Kentucky* (6’4”, 234)
Played sparingly as a freshman, finishing with ten tackles, then stepped into a more significant role over eight games the following season, finishing with a 32-1.0-1.0 line. Broke out as a junior this past season, totaling 102-4.0-1.5 in ten games, along with three interceptions (finishing with five total over his career.)
Has the type of size and frame teams look for in a modern middle/inside linebacker. Was asked to handle different responsibilities at the college level as an every-down player. Plus athlete who is capable of flowing sideline to sideline in the run game. Plays the game the right way, with a high motor and a pretty physical approach. Length and closing burst allow him to finish ballcarriers in backside pursuit; reliable open-field wrap tackler. Has the suddenness to keep blockers away from his body in space. Capable of making controlled spot-drops over long distances in zone coverage, and has the type of physical/athletic profile to potentially match up against some tight ends as well. Plants and drives well on a spot to limit yards after the catch. when working in zone and defending against throws in front of him. Didn’t have much sack production, but looks fast when he’s able to find clear lanes as a blitzer, with impressive closing speed.
Better athlete at this point than he is a polished linebacker. Has a tendency to commit too early, running himself out of position to make a play. Would like to see him be more consistent about keeping his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage when flowing. Production in opposing backfields is limited, and can take some conservative angles or be slightly late to diagnose. More comfortable when he’s flowing laterally than he is at working downhill and taking on blockers between the tackles. Can be moved off of his spot fairly easily when successfully engaged; will need to add more bulk to hold up in an odd defensive front.
A tall, long-limbed, athletic linebacker who has a very favorable trajectory but who still has work to do; as he becomes more comfortable anticipating/diagnosing, cleans up some of his angles in pursuit, and continues to add bulk and strength, it’s easy to see him developing into an every-down linebacker in the modern game, preferably behind a four-man line that allows him to utilize his speed and range. Has been building first-round momentum for some time and may have solidified his draft status with an impressive pro-day that should have several teams interested in seeing what he could do with another year or two of seasoning.