The NFL Draft is full of surprises.
The draft process is a roller coaster. The college football season is when stocks rise and fall the greatest. The postseason, meanwhile, is where analysis and scrutiny come into play in the months leading up to the draft. Perhaps a player shines at their pro day or new off-the-field issues come to light. Perhaps teams trade up or trade down because of the draft board. Many variables come into play regarding when a player is drafted, and 2021 figures to be no different.
Risers and fallers are a common occurrence, and the Lions are no strangers to those. Frank Ragnow, drafted 20th overall in 2018, was seen as a reach by some, but the center has certainly shown his value. Jahlani Tavai was also seen as a reach by some in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and the results have been lackluster. Amani Oruwariye was viewed as a potential first rounder, but he slide to the fifth round.
I find the risers to be the most interesting part of the draft. Are teams panicking and reaching for a lesser prospect? Is there something overlooked by the majority of analysts? Alternatively, how many other teams shared similar opinions? When the Lions drafted Ragnow, it surprised many, but rumors swirled that the Bengals were interested in him, and they drafted their own center immediately after.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Which prospect will get drafted higher than expected?
My answer: I think Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis will go higher than expected.
Quarterback Mac Jones going third overall is certainly higher than I would expect, but the growing consensus around the league is that he likely won’t escape the top ten. Jones aside, I think Davis has the potential to be a late first rounder.
Many big boards have him outside the top 32 players, coming in at 106th by Pro Football Network, 56th by The Draft Network, and 63rd by PFF. However, I think Davis benefits a lot from a growing desire for athletic coverage linebackers in the league. He’s a pretty good athlete:
Jamin Davis is a LB prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.88 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 26 out of 2128 LB from 1987 to 2021.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 1, 2021
Splits projected, times unofficial.https://t.co/FsazRSNhvb #RAS pic.twitter.com/UDZBCfjdmi
Micah Parsons and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah are the consensus top linebackers, but who comes next is a toss-up. Baron Browning and Zaven Collins are also elite athletes and are likely his closest competition, but I think teams might favor Davis. Insane explosion numbers, including the best vertical leap of any linebacker, is stunning for a guy of his size. The biggest knock on Davis is that he is a one-year wonder, but I think he has an incredibly high ceiling.
Late in the first round, I think he is a player worth gambling on. The question, however, is if he will get drafted even higher than that.