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Raiders address middle linebacker in Mel Kiper’s new mock draft

Las Vegas lands their middle linebacker of the future in Kentucky’s Jamin Davis in latest mock

Vanderbilt v Kentucky Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

We’re just over a month away from the 2021 NFL Draft kicking off in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 29-May 1.

On Tuesday, ESPN’s Mel Kiper released his updated NFL mock draft, and it has the Las Vegas Raiders taking Kentucky middle linebacker Jamin Davis with the 17th-overall pick.

Here is what Kiper had to say about the pick.

Get to know this name, because Davis is a big-time riser. When I sat down recently to watch his 2020 tape, I loved what I saw. He has tremendous range. He is physical. He can play inside or outside. He can cover and has some ball skills, including picking off three passes last season. Davis is the total package, and he could slot in at middle linebacker for Jon Gruden’s Raiders team. The other position to monitor here is on the offensive line, with former starters Trent Brown, Gabe Jackson and Rodney Hudson all being traded away in the past 10 days.

As Kiper said, Davis has made a dramatic climb on draft boards thanks to his breakout 2020 season in the SEC. After being a backup in his first two seasons, Davis emerged as a full-time starter last year and went on to earn First-Team All-SEC honors by Pro Football Focus’ Anthony Treash.

Here is what Treash had to say at the time of Davis.

The run-defense on this Cat is nothing short of exceptional. Davis led all SEC off-ball linebackers in run-defense grade at 89.0. His tackling was also arguably the best in the entire group as well with just eight misses on 104 attempts this season.

Davis finished the 2020 season ranked third in the SEC in total tackles (102), despite missing one game due to an undisclosed issue. He also recorded four tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, three interceptions, one pick-six, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and one blocked kick.

When Kentucky’s offseason began, Davis was widely expected to return for his senior season. However, he went through the draft evaluation process and got great feedback from the draft advisory board, which led to him make what, at the time, was viewed as a shocking decision to declare.

Davis clearly made the right call, as many mock drafts now have him going toward the end of Round 1 or early in Round 2. However, Kiper’s projection of Davis going 17th overall is easily the best projection he’s gotten to date.

What do you think of the Raiders possibly taking Jamin Davis to be the team’s future at middle linebacker? Let us know below!

Oh, and be sure to check out Lance Zierlein’s scouting report of Davis.