Jamin Davis can take tight ends ‘completely out’ of games, Fred Smoot says

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Bijan Todd
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Jamin Davis can take tight ends ‘completely out’ of games, Smoot says originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Washington made their draft choice with the hope of transforming their defense from great to terrifying last night in the 2021 NFL Draft, selecting linebacker Jamin Davis out of Kentucky no. 19 overall. Davis has speed, phenomenal length, coverage ability and several other attributes that could take the Washington Football Team’s defensive unit to the next level.

Former Washington cornerback Fred Smoot knows what it takes for a defense to become elite, and thinks Davis will fit perfectly behind an already stacked front in D.C.

“Let me tell you what we’re about to get: we’re about to get 6’3”, 250 pounds—listen to me, when he makes contact, he lets everybody on the field know it,” Smoot said during WFT’s draft party live stream. “He’s actually the best covering linebacker in this draft. He is what coach Jack del Rio loves, he is what coach Rivera loves, he’s the guy that can get in that A and B gap and cause problems, and he can also go sideline to sideline.”

Despite having perhaps the best defensive line in the league, Washington has struggled with covering tight ends in recent years. With another linebacker—Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah—still on the board, many WFT fans thought he would be higher on the list for Washington.

But as Smoot said, Davis’ coverage ability is likely what attracted Rivera and del Rio.

“Now, if you got a tight end, which—we’ve had problems with tight ends for the last decade—[Davis] can take them completely out of the game. We’re getting a complete player, three downs, Jamin Davis, great pick by coach,” Smoot said.

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If anyone knows how to develop linebackers and turn them into an All-Pro, it’s Rivera and del Rio. The former spent nine years and won a Super Bowl as a Chicago Bear linebacker, while the latter spent 11 seasons playing the position in the NFL garnering a Pro Bowl nod. Fred Smoot thinks one player comparison makes the most sense when discussing Jamin Davis: Darius Leonard.

“He’s gonna make plays. You’re talking about a guy that can end up with 150 tackles a year, he’s that type guy,” Smoot continued. “When you think of this guy, think about Darius Leonard for the Colts—he’s that type of guy.”

Comparing an incoming WFT rookie to Darius Leonard should have Washington fans salivating. Leonard was the centerpiece of one of the AFC’s best defenses last year in Indianapolis, in addition to numerous other career highlights: two-time First-Team All-Pro, two-time Pro Bowler, and former tackles leader among others.

It’s beyond question that Ron Rivera knows defense. In adding another piece of the puzzle in Jamin Davis, Rivera and Jack del Rio got their man to add depth behind the line in the 4-3 scheme. With Davis on the field behind the likes of Chase Young, Daron Payne, Montez Sweat and others, there might not be anywhere for opposing offenses to go.