By Michael Downes
With the 21st pick in the 2017 NFL Draft the Lions selected Jarrad Davis Linebacker out of Florida. Davis finished his career at Florida with 201 total tackles and 5.5 sacks. This pick addresses a major need for the Lions, but is surprising that they went Davis with Alabama Linebacker Rueben Foster still on the board.
Standing at 6-foot-1, 238 pounds, Davis is going to have to add some weight in order to effectively fight through the trenches and be an efficient run stopper. He has great feet, can recognize plays well and is a sure tackler, all things you look for in a linebacker. Davis has shown the ability to go into coverage as well. He picked off only one pass in his tenure at Florida, but also deflected nine passes.
The one glaring issue with Davis is going to be his health. He missed five games his senior year with an ankle injury. Another weakness is his ability to shed blocks, but that is easier to work on. NFL teams are notorious for getting players weight up and making them stronger. With just a few more pounds Davis has the potential to be a stud. He should be an immediate starter for Lions who are incredibly thin at linebacker.