Life in the NFL can be short-lived for players if they’re not careful. Aside from possible injuries at every turn, there’s also the fact that someone is always coming for your job. There’s a need to be constantly improving. Even if your play is consistent, there’s a chance you may lose out on your job. Complacency can be a killer for an NFL player.
Take, for example, the career of Darius Slay. This is a guy who constantly gets better every year. After a disappointing rookie season, Slay quickly became a full-time starter for the Detroit Lions. Each year, he seemed to improve upon something and come into the following season a better defensive back. After the 2016 season, there was little doubt Slay was among the best corners in the league, even if he didn’t have the accolades to prove it.
But he didn’t allow himself to become complacent. In the offseason leading up to the 2017 season, he specifically focused on getting the ball in his hands more often. Four months later, he’s an All-Pro, Pro Bowler and the season-leader in interceptions.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Lions player would you like to see make the biggest jump in 2018?
My answer: Jarrad Davis. If there’s anyone that could single-handedly improve the Lions from their 2017 output, I think it may be Jarrad Davis.
Davis’ rookie year wasn’t bad by any means, but there were definitely times he looked like a rookie out there. If Davis can learn to trust his instincts more and develop better tendencies in coverage, he could become the Ray Lewis type of game-changer that the Lions were hoping for when they selected him 21st overall last year.
But it won’t be easy for Davis. Just a year into his NFL career, he will almost certainly be learning an entirely new system under Matt Patricia. In fact, Patricia—a linebackers coach for five years in New England—will probably be leaning harder on Davis more than any other defender in 2018. Expectations will be high, and if Davis can meet them, this Lions defense could turn around in a hurry.