Jordan Davis Draft Profile
Every year there are at least one or two prospects that are redefining what it means to play their position. Last year, we saw Kyle Pitts put up record-breaking numbers, Micah Parsons be one of the best defensive players in the NFL, and Ja’Marr Chase have the greatest rookie receiver season in NFL history. This year, there are not as many of those “game-changing” players, but I believe University of Georgia defensive tackle, Jordan Davis can be one of those “game-changing” players. In the NFL, I see him being tasked with two-gapping where he is responsible for two separate run lanes. In Brandon Staley and Vic Fangio’s defensive scheme, they play with more two-high safeties two combat the inflated amount of passing plays in the modern-day NFL. That means that offenses have the advantage in the box due to the defense's additional safety. Staley implemented a two-gap system from his defensive tackle in a way to fill every hole despite having fewer players in the box. That means his defensive tackle’s job is to go upfield and shed the blocker depending on the direction that the running back goes. It is a hard scheme for defensive tackles to play in; other than Aaron Donald, there aren’t too many defensive tackles capable of playing that way. This is where Davis enters the equation; we have never seen a player of his size move the way that he does. A smart defensive coordinator will use Davis to help the backend of his defense. Davis can take playing the defensive tackle position to the next level.
The most obvious thing that stands out on tape when watching Jordan Davis play is his rare size + athleticism combination. Davis is a sports car disguised as a monster truck; he measures in at 6’6 341 lbs. but runs a freakish 4.78 40-yard dash. There is no defensive tackle in the NFL that properly compares to what Davis measures in at; that is what makes him such an asset. As a rusher, his best move is his bull rush (which is no surprise), but he also has shown that he can win with speed. Just as there aren’t any defensive tackles running in the 4.7s, there are not any interior offensive linemen running in the 4.7s. His burst is remarkable and he consistently beats blockers to the ball due to his speed. He also offers position versatility amongst the interior defensive line. He can line anywhere from head up with the center all the way to the three tech. Against the run, Davis sheds blocks consistently and rarely ever gets pushed back. He takes up so much space in the heart of the offensive line, he is constantly demanding double teams which frees up his teammates to make plays. When he is rushing the passer he has shown the ability to convert speed to power and use his swim move, but watching him get to the quarterback is like watching hulk smash. Anybody that gets in his way doesn’t really stand a chance. Even if he doesn’t get to the quarterback himself, he is often taking out two or three blockers. As a big defensive tackle, Davis is unique because teams can’t pick on him laterally. Usually, when there are nose tackles that are 330 plus pounds, teams will exploit them with an east-west run game, and make them run laterally. Davis does not have a problem moving side to side which blows that entire game plan up. Jordan Davis is a special player that has the chance to change the way offenses game plan against the big boys in the middle.
While Jordan Davis has phenomenal leg strength, there are times when he just ends up standing up in his rush if the blocker has a good base against him. For first-round defensive linemen, you usually want them to have a high sack or pressure count. That is not quite the case with Davis, but he does set his teammates up to have impressive stats because he demands so much attention. He also won’t be an every-down player, so teams will need to figure out how to get him on the field consistently. As a pass rusher, you would like to see him utilize his hands more consistently. If he is able to unlock club and rip moves from his pass rush package, teams are in trouble. Davis is not a finished product by any means, but if the right defensive line coach is able to develop him properly, he will be an all-pro within the next five years.
As I mentioned earlier, two-gapping consistently is one of the hardest things a coach can ask a defensive tackle to do. Luckily for that coach, Davis is an incredibly smart human being and a very cerebral football player. It is hard to find a proper player comparison for Davis because he is such a unique prospect. A player that can two-gap at a high level and disrupt the run in a similar way to Davis is Akiem Hicks. With that being said, Hicks is a more refined pass rusher and a good amount lighter; however, Hicks is a good player for Davis to model his game after. In my opinion, a player with a skillset as special as Davis should go in the top ten, but realistically I don’t see him getting out of the top 15. The Chargers don’t necessarily need a defensive tackle at the moment, but Davis would be a perfect fit in Staley’s system. I could also see the Steelers and Browns utilizing Davis to the best of his ability. While Davis may not be the sexiest pick, he could be the most meaningful pick in this year’s draft.
Strength + Physicality: 7.75/8
Run Stuffing: 7/8
Instincts + Gap Recognition: 4.75/6
Final Rating: 89
Pro Comparison: Akiem Hicks
Team Fits: Chargers, Steelers, Browns
Draft Grade: Top 10 Player
Draft Projection: Top 15 Pick