With the addition of a rookie linebacker taken in the second round, the Detroit Lions are hoping to utilize Jarrad Davis more as a pass rusher in 2019.
In his four years as general manager of the Detroit Lions, Bob Quinn has made four first round selections. Three of those picks went to the offensive side of the ball. Those players being left tackle Taylor Decker (2016), center Frank Ragnow (2018) and tight end T.J. Hockenson (2019). The lone defensive player selected in the first round during Quinn’s tenure has been linebacker Jarrad Davis.
And after his rookie season, it appeared the Lions had made the right choice. Davis racked up 96 tackles, leading all first-year defenders in that category in 2017.
Last offseason, the Lions hired a new head coach Matt Patricia. And the former New England Patriots’ defensive coordinator was expect to revamp the defense in Detroit by bringing in a multiple scheme that had help the Pats go to six-straight AFC championship games and hoist two Lombardi Trophies.
Although there were questions about how Davis would fit into this new defense, the second-year linebacker excelled posting 100 total tackles and a whopping 6.0 sacks. With the addition of rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai via the second round of the draft this offseason, his presence should allow Davis to rush the passer even more in 2019.
Here’s what Lions linebacker coach Al Golden told MLive.com about Davis’ role shifting to more of a pass rusher this upcoming season.
"“We try to break it down to edge rushers, blitzers, inside rushers, outside rushers so [Davis] can learn. We use him in all of those realms, which is great. He made unbelievable gains as a pass rusher last year, I felt. I know he’s hungry for it. He’s going to take the next step for us, for sure.”"
A trademark of Matt Patricia’s defenses of the past is their pass rush comes from several different players. Giving more opportunities to rush the passer and the presence of Jahlani Tavai now along the linebacker front, Jarrad Davis could easily end up being a double-digit sacker this upcoming season. But don’t be surprised to see the large sack totals coming from numerous players including fellow linebacker Devon Kennard, new defensive end Trey Flowers and last season’s team sack leader, defensive end Romeo Okwara.