The Las Vegas Raiders have a massive need for a defensive tackle, so who better to fill it than one of the biggest players in this year’s NFL Draft class, Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis. With Davis’ unique size, he's a boulder in the run game and has some surprising athleticism to grow as a pass rusher.
DT | Georgia | 6’6” and 340 pounds | Charlotte, NC | January 12th, 2000 (22.1)
Jordan Davis came to Georgia as a three-star recruit and the 29th-best defensive tackle in the country for the 2018 class, per 247 Sports. He mixed in the defensive line rotation as a true freshman before becoming a full-time starter as a junior and senior. The Outland Trophy and Chuck Bednarik Award winner accumulated 90 total tackles, 11.5 for loss, seven sacks and 30 pressures, primarily lining up between a zero- and 2i-technique in the Bulldog’s defense that uses multiple fronts.
- Elite and rare size for an NFL defensive tackle
- When asked to penetrate as a one-gapper and early in drives, he gets off the ball well to play in the offense’s backfield
- Fires off the ball in short-yardage situations
- Similar to his get off, when he’s fresh and the effort level is there, he has the hand placement, leg drive and more than enough strength to collapse the pocket with a bull rush
- Displays the agility to gain ground vertically while moving horizontally to take an efficient path to the quarterback as the looper on line games
- Against the run, he takes on blocks with good hand placement and has elite strength to get extension against interior offensive linemen, and has even shown the ability to lock them out with one arm
- With his solid block recognition and agility, he’s able to avoid getting reached when playing head up
- Quick to recognize and redirect his hands and eyes to take on down blocks
- Against double teams, he attacks and defeats the man he’s lined up across from and lets his size help him hold ground when the second blocker comes. He should have no problems creating stalemates in the NFL.
- Pretty quick on slants to help throw off offensive linemen’s angles and make them miss
- When two-gaping, he can close one gap with the blocker and makes it look effortless at times
- Block shedding is easy with his hand placement and strength
- Displays good gap discipline to wait until the running back commits before leaving his gap, with the movement skills and ability to get off blocks to make tackles in the gap adjacent to his assignment
- Has no problems bringing down ball carriers in his gap and can make tackles with offensive linemen hanging on him. He had zero missed tackles during his last two years as a full-time starter in college, per PFF.
Areas for improvement:
- False steps and goes backward to move forward when two-gapping
- His get-off diminishes quickly on drives, his conditioning could use some work which also leads to him running out of gas and dropping his effort level as a pass rusher
- Also has slow run-pass transitions against play action
- Doesn’t seem to rush with a plan, he’ll quit if his first move doesn’t work instead of throwing counters and shows a low motor
- Needs to learn how to work the offensive lineman's hands as a pass rusher to add more moves to his toolbelt
- Can be late to see/recognize traps and screens
- When slanting, he doesn’t gain ground and false steps with his L-step and doesn’t finish with a violent rip to get blockers off of him
- Is more of a waist bender than a knee bender, which could cause him issues against NFL guards who are strong and play with good leverage
- 2019: Ankle (only played 2 snaps one game and limited the next)
NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board rank: 21st, 1st round
To put it simply, guys like Davis just don’t grow on trees. His strength and size are top-notch but what truly makes him unique is he shows some impressive athletic traits for a 340- to 360-pound pound guy. That means he has plenty of room to grow as a pass rusher and there’s little to no doubt about his ability to eat up space against the run, making the former Bulldog worthy of a first-round selection.
Schematically, Davis would probably be best as a two-gapping nose tackle to begin his career, but I think he can be more than that. The quickness and nimbleness that he shows should translate well as a one-gap three-technique too, adding some versatility to the big man’s game. Anything wider than that would be pushing it, though.
I don’t always throw out player comps unless they really come to me and I kept landing on Linval Joseph for Davis. However, Davis still has two inches and 10 to 30 pounds on Joseph...
What do we need to know?
Can he be consistent enough as a pass rusher to stay on the field? The Charlotte native showed plenty of flashes as a pass rusher but they all seemed to come in spurts. He only registered double-digit pressures in one season in Athens and was taken out for a lot of obvious passing situations. If conditioning is the biggest issue, then that’s an easy fix but the question then pivots to, if it’s so easy, then why hasn’t he done it? Plus, if he does drop weight, how much will it affect him against the run? That’s the dilemma that could keep Davis out of the first round.
Fit with the Raiders:
Obviously, I’ve been profiling a lot of players lately that should be in range for the Raiders with the 22nd overall pick, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the decision came between Davis and his college running mate Devonte Wyatt. Las Vegas desperately needs defensive tackle help and they’re two of the best in this year’s draft class and wouldn’t be reaches with where the team picks. It’s just a matter of if Ziegler and Co. want a better pass rusher or run defender at that spot.
Speaking on that, Davis would be a pretty good compliment to Yannick Ngakoue. The latter has struggled against the run throughout his carer, so putting him on the same side as the former, who can cut the field in half, could help hide some of Ngakoue’s deficiencies. Also, new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham would have his Dexter Lawrence-type of player if he wants to continue running the same fronts that he did in New York.
So, Jordan Davis has some power as a rusher… pic.twitter.com/376gMQ91tU— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) March 2, 2022
This pass rush from Jordan Davis is somewhere between a push pull and just throwing the center out of the way, but it works!— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) March 2, 2022
Pretty nimble for a 340lb dude after too pic.twitter.com/kNe9vrknlP
Has anyone made moving another 300lb human being look easier than when Jordan Davis (DRT) does it here? pic.twitter.com/qh4YtMpqiD— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) March 2, 2022
Jordan Davis (NT) gets a down block from the OG, redirects his hands, gets extension & penetration, crosses the OG’s face and makes the tackle pic.twitter.com/Em3jk3dOgo— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) March 2, 2022
Jordan Davis (DRT) gets a ton of credit for his size & strength, & rightfully so, but this play is made with his use of hands, balance and athletic ability pic.twitter.com/oT4WMqJK33— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) March 2, 2022
When Jordan Davis (DRT) is fresh, he can rush the passer:— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) March 2, 2022
-Excellent get-off & works to get on an edge & put pressure on the C vertically
-Works the C’s hands and stays on balance through contact w/ OG
-Stops & turns well for a big dude to get the sack
With basically 1 arm, Jordan Davis (NT) gets extension on the center, crosses the C’s face & makes the tackle in the adjacent gap, you’re not going to find many guys with that type of strength and agility pic.twitter.com/yI0oUwInek— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) March 2, 2022
When I say Jordan Davis (DRT) has no issues shedding blocks, this is what I mean, it shouldn’t be this easy pic.twitter.com/2lo9TdhOg9— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) March 2, 2022