With the 21st in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions selected Jarrad Davis. Was he the right choice? Let’s re-draft and find out …
Entering the 2017 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions had several needs to address. One of them being middle linebacker. That’s despite the success veteran Tahir Whitehead had the season before in the position, recording a team-high 132 combined tackles in 15 games.
Possessing the 21st overall selection in the first round, the Lions opted to draft Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis. Coming out of college, Davis undoubtedly had first round talent. But injury concerns had him behind other linebacker prospects like Temple’s Haason Reddick and Alabama’s Reuben Foster on some draft boards.
So far this season, Davis has missed two out of a possible 11 games as a starter in Detroit. He currently leads all rookies in total tackles with a combined 56. Davis has also recorded 1.0 sack, two pass defends and a fumble recovery. The 23-year old is undoubtedly a tackling machine. But in hindsight, was there a better pick to be had at #21?
First, let’s look at the other top linebacker prospects. Both Reddick and Foster appear to be solid players, but neither has recorded the production of Davis. And Foster has only been able to play five games this season due to ankle and rib injuries.
Of the other selections made late in the first round, LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White and Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt certainly standout. Although Watt would have likely been a defensive end in Detroit. Still, neither seem to fit as well as Davis in the Motor City.
So, thirteen weeks into the 2017 regular season, it appears the Detroit Lions hit a home run with the selection of Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis with the 21st pick in the first round. Obviously, only time will tell if the choice was ultimately the right one. But as of today, it certainly appears so.