NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah is one of the respected national draft analysts in the business. Not only is he a former scout for the Baltimore Ravens, which gives him a unique perspective, but he has the ability to explain things for fans of all levels.
Typically, once a month during the offseason, Jeremiah releases his latest edition of a mock draft. In version 1.0, Jeremiah projected the Detroit Lions to land Michigan EDGE, Aidan Hutchinson, and Liberty quarterback Malik Willis (at pick No. 28 at the time).
On Tuesday, Jeremiah released mock draft version 2.0, and while things stayed the same at the top, there was a big change with the Lions' second first-round pick.
Pick No. 2, Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
After giving the Jacksonville Jaguars Alabama offensive tackle Evan Neal, that gave the Lions the opportunity to grab Hutchinson, Jeremiah’s “top-rated player in the draft”. While the Hutchinson to the Lions pairing isn’t surprising, things got really interesting with the Lions' next pick.
Pick No. 32, Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
“The Lions could look for a QB here, but Davis would be a nice addition to a young defensive unit,” Jeremiah explained.
Davis is a player that I have only seen mocked to the Lions once this offseason and I’ll repeat what I said then because it still applies: Pairing Davis and Alim McNeill would be completely unfair... and I’m here for it.
For those not familiar with Davis, he is a 6-foot-5, 350-pound monster who can line up from the 0- to the 3-technique and moves in ways other big men don’t:
350lb NTs aren’t suppose to make these plays…— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) November 3, 2021
Jordan Davis pic.twitter.com/QLGY9wmhph
Love the energy that Georgia DT Jordan Davis is playing with so far this year. This type of effort will win over teams in draft rooms. pic.twitter.com/lR9Ha8k6Ct— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) September 20, 2021
But Davis’ game isn’t just pursuit speed, he is routinely double-teamed, yet sheds with ease and possesses the quickness to penetrate and disrupt. He is the best run defender in the country, regardless of how many offensive linemen are assigned to him:
Jordan Davis (Georgia IDL 99) has rare quickness for a player of his size. pic.twitter.com/VCZU8tRaiH— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) November 23, 2021
Jordan Davis playing with great pad level & quickness off the ball. He remains low through the initial contact.— Mr. Hop Off Da Bus (@DP_NFL) October 21, 2021
The OL loses leverage & JD swam past him. Davis maintains his balance & squares up the RB before wrapping him up.
Davis is a monster.pic.twitter.com/nKFJE7ikcs
And when he gets a hold of a ball carrier, the play is over:
I don’t like Jordan Davis taking on double teams/two-gapping (poor pad level/technique) - I want him disrupting, using his quickness and blowing up backfields.— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) February 22, 2022
This is not a plugging NT, IMO but a rangy disruptive presence… pic.twitter.com/SKf3jvgHFW
The second tackle in the above video is on Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr., who just measured in at 6-foot-1 1⁄2, 226 pounds at the Senior Bowl and will likely be the biggest back in this draft class. Yet, Davis swallows him up and throws him around like he was his little brother playing in the backyard.
So why is this dominating force available at pick No. 32?
There are two main reasons. First, while he dominates the line of scrimmage, he isn’t a get-the-quarterback pass rusher, and when you play on the interior, you typically need that skill to get drafted in the first round. Second, he only averaged around 35 snaps per game, which is right around half of Georgia’s defensive plays. At his size, and being a primary run defender, Georgia often left him on the sidelines when defending the pass.
So why is he worth pick No. 32?
Despite his limitations, he remains a unicorn. Players his size, with his movement skills and power present a rare combination of traits NFL teams will covet.
With McNeill already in the fold at nose tackle, adding another in Davis won’t be a priority, but pairing them together would shore up the Lions' issues against the run almost immediately. Coaches could rotate them through the middle so there is always a dominating presence over the ball, or line them up next to each other and dare teams to run.
A three-man defensive front that included Davis, McNeill, and Levi Onwuzurike for at least the next three seasons? Sign me up.