The Detroit Lions decision to select linebacker Jarrad Davis over now San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster last April is looking better.
Rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis was selected by the Detroit Lions with the 21st overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft. At the time, current San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster was still on the draft board and touted by many as the best available at the position. Lions general manager Bob Quinn went with Davis instead.
While Davis had his ups and downs in his rookie season, he put up some decent numbers. He started 14 games posting 65 tackles, 31 assisted tackles, two sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and three passes defended. In comparison, Foster started 10 games posting 59 tackles, 13 assisted tackles and one pass defended.
With four more games, Davis has the edge in the statistical categories. But the stats don’t tell the whole story for which player was the safer draft pick so far. Foster had some red flags heading into the draft and those red flags rearing their ugly head this weekend as he was arrested on domestic violence and assault charges.
At this point, we don’t know all of the specifics and we don’t know exactly what punishment will be handed down. If it falls in line with other domestic violence offenses, Foster’s looking at a six-game suspension, give or take two games. But even worse, cutting the already troubled linebacker could be a realistic option.
Looking back to the 2017 draft, was Davis the right choice? Today, the answer seems obvious. Quinn deserves credit for passing over Foster and selecting Davis. High character is something he said he would value in prospects and his first-round selection in the 2017 draft certainly reflects that statement.
"“Domestic violence and dangerous weapons,” Quinn told ESPN.com in early 2016. “Those are two things that I’m not going to stand for, I don’t believe in. That’s how I feel.”"
From Foster’s history with a shoulder injury to his diluted sample at the combine, a few red flags were waving in the wind prior to the draft. His latest troubles seem to be the verification that the Lions made the right choice by selecting Davis over Foster in the first round of last year’s draft.
Still, we must remember that hindsight is 20/20. Players can change when they enter this league – for better and for worse. The trouble is, you never know 100% which way they can change until it’s too late. Today, Detroit Lions fans can breathe a sigh of relief at Quinn’s selection.