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King, of NBC Sports, sent Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis to the Packers at No. 29 overall in his mock draft that posted Monday.
From King: “Davis is perhaps the fastest-rising defensive player in the crop over the last three months. After starting only 11 games at Kentucky, NFL teams studying his tape found the rangy sideline-to-sideline playmaker they’re valuing in linebackers these days.”
Davis (6-3, 234) was the third inside linebacker off the board in King’s mock. He went three spots ahead of Christian Barmore, the Alabama defensive lineman and a potential option for the Packers should they want to add a disruptor up front.
King worked under the assumption that the Packers could get the best player at No. 29 and still have a chance to find an impact receiver in the second round.
In Davis, the Packers would get a highly athletic (RAS of 9.93) inside linebacker capable of playing all three downs and creating negative plays against the run and pass. He could also help solve one of the team’s longest-standing weaknesses on defense.
King said the teams he talked to liked Davis more than Zaven Collins of Tulsa, another late first-round option at linebacker.
According to Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, Davis has an “excellent blend of size, length and pursuit talent” and could be an immediate starter at linebacker at the next level.
Davis ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds and had elite numbers in both jumps (42″ vertical, 11-0 in broad).
The Packers haven’t generally prioritized inside linebacker in the draft, but general manager Brian Gutekunst said he wants more production from the position.
“Yeah, I think have to have more productive play out of there,” Gutekunst said last month. “We had some injuries there early in the year. I was really proud of the way guys stepped in, the way they competed. But I do think we need better production out of our inside linebacker group. I expect, we have some young players in there that will grow and get better. I think we’ll see that moving forward.”
The Packers used a fifth-round pick on Kamal Martin and found Krys Barnes in college free agency last year. Green Bay also has linebackers Oren Burks and Ty Summers, two former draft picks.
In 2020, Davis delivered 102 tackles, four tackles for losses, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, five pass breakups and three interceptions. He also blocked a field goal and returned one interception for a touchdown.