At first glance, Jordan Davis looks more like a mountain than a man.
He is all of 6-6, 330. He’s got these long powerful and weight room strong arms and a neck that looks more like a stump from a strong oak tree. Davis has broad shoulders and a lean strong frame with a gut.
Jordan Davis brings a presence and there is a lot of hype surrounding him. There is so much hype surrounding him in fact, that his name has been mentioned as a Heisman candidate. I have never in 40 years heard a defensive lineman’s name mentioned in the Heisman talk.
However, as always….
The film does not lie.
I walked away disappointed. I studied him against Clemson, Kentucky and Arkansas (2021).
I am putting a 2nd to 3rd round league grade on him (Fall 2021 Report) and he is not on my draft board. I will not and can not have underachievers on my draft board. I do not care about potential. Nothing gets a team beat more than the word potential. He is what he is and if you can live with that, send in the card.
Yes, he has dominant and even elite ability. It is in him. The question is, how often does it come out?
He only flashes this ability – – and nothing scares me more than guys who flash it.
When he is getting pushed around and dictated to against Arkansas, I ask myself one question. If he looks like this against Arkansas, what will he look like against the Bengals, Browns or Ravens? I only say those three teams because I can see Davis going to the Steelers when they draft later in the first round.
Nothing has yielded more busts than the word, “potential.” Half the picks in the first round are busts as it is. I am not saying Davis will be a bust, but I am saying whichever team gets him better turn off the “highlight reels,” and set their expectations accordingly. If the expectations are not set properly, he will result in nothing but disappointment.
If a team can live with 4,5,6 dominant plays from the defensive right tackle spot in each game and the rest of the time he disappears, then this is your guy.
At times he can wow and be as disruptive as hell on passing downs, but only 5.5 total sacks in four college seasons backs up what I am saying. Davis has the raw and brute power to put interior offensive linemen on skates. He looks like a human avalanche if he manages to slip into a gap.
He stands his ground well enough against the run, but I would like to see him hold the point better. I want to see better hand placement at the point of attack. I want to see inside hand placement more. I want to see better run production (18 tackles through five games). I would like to see more overall consistency.
Davis has had 25 tackles or less in each of his last three previous college seasons.
I am not stupid enough to think he will magically change when the NFL puts millions of dollars in his pocket either.
Jordan Davis spends way too much time being dictated to, when he should be the one dictating. I know some team will talk their way into taking him high because of the raw ability he will show at his pro days and he has all the measurables. I know some coach and his ego somewhere will say, “Oh, I can coach him up.” While his techniques can be coached to improve, if this is an issue of motivation, that is going to be a lot more difficult to address.
When a player flashes ability, it means he has the ability, but something is keeping him from realizing it internally. Albert Haynesworth comes to mind.
Jordan Davis is a rare and unique talent. He was projected as going as high as 12th overall last year and he opted to come back instead, probably because the people advising him have told him he will go even higher (and get paid more) if he opted to come out in 2022 instead. Let’s keep it real.
Knowing the NFL the way I do, I am sure some team will fall in love with him. Some team will certainly fall in love watching him run around those little orange cones on his pro day. However, I would not take him. I do not want to leave feeling frustrated every time I review Sunday’s game with my staff.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.