DeMario Davis’ performance at the pre draft combine dispelled any notion that he couldn’t excel at the next level. Rex Ryan gushed over Davis’ quickness of the ball, explosiveness speed and his ability to shoot gaps to attack ball carriers. This offseason period the Jets feverishly searched for a versatile linebacker capable of both pressuring the quarterback and dropping back into pass coverage. Davis is an adaptable player that is an ideal fit for Ryan’s exotic schemes. At Arkansas State, Davis was moved all over the defensive formation, taking reps at inside linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end and on occasion he was positioned outside to matchup with slot receivers.
Davis plays with an unrelenting motor and a violent disposition that creates havoc in an opponents’ backfield. With Gang Green’s defensive coordinator aiming to generate more sacks in 2012, Davis appears to be at the focal point of his plans to rejuvenate the Jets pass-rush. Originally projected to fly off the draft board in the fifth-round, New York snatched Davis with the No. 77 overall pick in the third-round. Ryan praised Davis’ leadership and intangibles in the media as he drew comparisons to Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. Playing in the Sunbelt Conference, Davis was a diamond in the rough, who captured the attention of Ryan at the NFL combine. Davis outshone all outside linebackers at the combine finishing first in the bench press, vertical leap and broad jump, second in the 40-yard dash and third in the short shuttle.
The most important factor that went into the Jets drafting Davis was that the outside linebacker’s athleticism not only tested off the charts, but translated well onto the football field. New York was determined to upgrade its pass-rush and Davis is certainly a means toward that end. Slated as a situational backer to start the year, Davis could see increased playing time with outside linebacker Bryan Thomas rehabbing from Achilles and shoulder surgeries and Calvin Pace coming off a disappointing 2011 season. Davis could be a tremendously impactful player for a Gang Green defensive unit that hopes to return to elite status this year.
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com
You can follow him on Twitter @rlaughland
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