Detroit Lions: Is Jarrad Davis approaching draft bust status?

Jarrad Davis, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Jarrad Davis, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

After two seasons with the Detroit Lions, is former first-round selection linebacker Jarrad Davis starting to approach draft bust status?

198 tackles in two seasons. That seems to be the level of production that should not get you labeled a possible draft bust. But Detroit Lions‘ linebacker Jarrad Davis might be inching towards that infamous label as he enters his third year in the Motor City.

Coming off a successful 9-7 season where the Lions lost in the Wild Card round of the playoffs to the Seattle Seahawks, 26-6, Detroit earned themselves the 21st overall selection in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

And despite there being names like Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt, LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White and UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley still on the board, the Lions opted to draft Davis out of Florida. A two-year starter for the Gators, Jarrad came to Detroit with concerns about his durability and his liability in coverage.

Through his first two seasons in the league, Davis has been able to stay relatively healthy missing two games in his rookie season due to a concussion, but playing in all 16 contests last year. As for the coverage aspect, he’s really struggled.

Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus broke down Davis’ poor production over his first two seasons in the Motor City.

"“Davis has yet to post a season grade higher than 55.0, and it’s been all facets of the game that have contributed. Davis has missed 36 tackles over the last two years while allowing nearly 80.0 percent of the passes targeting him to be completed for a passer rating of 106.8. Last season, his run-defense grade of 33.7 was third-worst among 92 qualifying linebackers.”"

Hitting triple-digit tackle numbers is always impressive. In fact, Davis had the 39th most tackles in the NFL in 2018. But when you dive deeper, you realize the second-year defender could have done even more and didn’t take advantage of all of his opportunities. Combined that with poor grades for both pass coverage and run defense, and suddenly the label of possible draft bust doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

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I believe there is an underlining hope that under the tutelage of head coach Matt Patricia, and his versatile defensive scheme, that Jarrad Davis will somehow unlock his potential. It also seems equally probable that Patricia could simply opt to move on from the 24-year old (that he didn’t draft) if he thinks Davis is no longer a good fit in Detroit.