Oftentimes in the NFL, it takes a player a couple years to get into the swing of things in the NFL. Whether it’s the adjustment to the level of talent, finding themselves a comfort level in a new, unfamiliar place, or learning the nuances of a more complex playbook, young NFL players can often take a big jump in play a couple years after being drafted.
The Detroit Lions are hoping some of the players drafted in 2017 will make that jump. These players were drafted for both a different head coach and different coordinators, meaning their adjustment to the NFL likely took some extra time, now having to learn another scheme.
Some of these players likely won’t fit what the Lions are trying to do. Others could potentially make that Year 3 jump we often see with players.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Which Lions player drafted in 2017 is likely to make the Year 3 jump?
My answer: First, let’s look at the candidates. Here are the players from the 2017 draft class that are still around:
I think we can immediately take Golladay out of the conversation, since the young receiver hit 1,000 yards last year. He’s already made a big jump.
I’m also going to eliminate Jalen Reeves-Maybin. Lions general manager Bob Quinn said this offseason he needs his linebackers big and strong. Reeves-Maybin is neither. If he makes the team this year, it will likely be due to his special teams value.
As much as I want to believe, I just don’t think Teez Tabor was cut out for this team.
That leaves me with Jarrad Davis, Michael Roberts and Jamal Agnew. Roberts won’t have the opportunity to have a breakout season now that the Lions added Jesse James and T.J. Hockenson, though he could still make significant contributions if he impresses this summer. Jamal Agnew had an All-Pro rookie season and is likely to rebound after an injury derailed his second year. However, I don’t see him making any sort of jump defensively after Detroit’s numerous moves in the secondary.
That leaves us with Jarrad Davis. Davis’ career hasn’t been horrible, but his inconsistencies are numerous and obvious.
At this point in his career, however, Davis is in the best spot he’s ever been. His supporting cast is better than ever, his coaching staff has their full support behind him, and with an investment in second-round pick Jahlani Tavai, Detroit is preparing to give Davis the freedom to do what he does best: attack.
I’m not predicting Davis suddenly loses all of his faults in 2019, but I do think the Lions are now in a better position to mask some of his weaknesses, and that could mean a big season for Davis.