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2020 NFL Draft profile: Can Raekwon Davis bounce back from college decline?

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The Detroit Lions may be looking to add another Da’Shawn Hand type in the mid rounds in Raekwon Davis.

Alabama v Mississippi State Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The hiring of defensive line coach Bo Davis was lauded as a strong one, as his work with the Alabama defensive front was viewed as excellent in both of his stints with the Crimson Tide. With how well Da’Shawn Hand developed in his first year with the Detroit Lions, this signing appeared to have already been paying dividends, but with the serious health issues the team suffered in 2019, it was hard to gauge who had developed and how much.

The development of UDFA Kevin Strong is a promising sign that Davis could develop various types of talent on this front. Though their paths didn’t intersect at Alabama, Raekwon Davis’ familiarity with the terminology and concepts from Alabama could make him an interesting mid round target for the Lions.

Raekwon Davis, defensive tackle, Alabama

Raekwon Davis RAS

Scouting ReportsThe Draft Network | Tankathon | With the First Pick | Pro Football Network | This player is a prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft. All metrics that have been recorded are unofficial if the metric is highlighted in yellow. Once the NFL Draft has concluded, player scores will be finalized and the prospect...

At over 6-foot-6 coming out of high school (and listed at 6-foot-8), Davis was one of the most coveted high school prospects in the country before signing to one of the best programs in the country at Alabama. Davis was a monster early on in his college career, netting 8.5 sacks his sophomore season in Nick Saban’s defense. Expectations were high for the massive interior rusher, and there was already talk of him being a possible first-round pick.

Things oddly spiraled from there, and Davis seemed to be less and less a significant part of the Crimson Tide defensive front. He returned to school after a disappointing junior season, hoping to bounce back and put himself back in the first-round discussion, but he seemed to play at an even lower level as a senior. While he still has some believers, Davis is likely headed to a mid-to-late round selection, barring a huge surprise both in the testing and drills at the Combine.

As large as he is, Davis’ size can get him into trouble at times as he can struggle to achieve and maintain leverage against savvy blockers. This played a part in his drop off from his hot start in college, but wasn’t the only issue. Davis’ hand usage didn’t seem to develop much as his college career wore on and blockers seemed to key into what he was doing almost immediately. There’s plenty of developmental talent in Raekwon Davis, but it’s unclear how much of that can be tapped with just good coaching.

Schematically, there’s few things you can’t do with Davis if he develops well. He can line up at any defensive line spot and similar to Da’Shawn Hand allows you to do some interesting things with stunts and taking advantage of indirect match ups. The athleticism Davis displayed early in his career shows that he can be trusted to be on the move without losing his assignments, so there’s little concern that he can be used dynamically in both the passing and run game. The big issue is if you can rekindle the fire that he had early on in his career. If you can, Davis could be the best tackle in the class.