According to a report, the Detroit Lions are likely not to pick up the fifth-year option on Jarrad Davis. Does it make the former first-rounder a bust?
During his time as general manager of the Detroit Lions, Bob Quinn has selected five first-rounders for the Motor City. The latest being the third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah.
But the most underwhelming of the bunch might be linebacker Jarrad Davis. The 21st overall selection out of Florida back in 2017, Davis is coming off the worst season of his three-year career so far. He recorded 63 total tackles, 2.0 sacks, and three forced fumbles in 11 games after being forced to miss five contests due to an ankle injury.
The 25-year old Davis has received a steadily declining overall grade from the football analytic website Pro Football Focus, resulting in a dismal 40.4 grade this past season. But it’s certainly not all his fault.
When Davis was selected back in 2017, the head coach for the Lions was Jim Caldwell. And Detroit’s defensive coordinator was Teryl Austin. A year later and the team moved on from both Caldwell and Austin, and replaced them with defensive guru and new head coach Matt Patricia, formerly of the uber-successful New England Patriots.
And despite Davis posting career-highs in tackles (100), sacks (6.0) and pass deflections (5) as a 16-game starter under Patricia in 2018, there were still some concerns. Mainly, if the 6-foot-1, 245-pound middle linebacker had the size and skills needed to succeed in Patricia’s multiple defensive scheme. After all, the Lions didn’t draft Davis with this new coaching regime and defensive philosophy in mind.
Coming off a down season, many wondered whether the Lions would choose to pick up the fifth-year option on Davis heading into his fourth season in the Motor City. According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, that answer is a likely no.
If Detroit doesn’t pick up that extra year on Davis, does that make him a draft bust? Not necessarily. This is undeniably a talented player. One that appears to be capable of register triple-digit tackles every season as well as being a serviceable pass rusher.
There are certainly some great defensive tools Jarrad Davis brings to the table. But this could be just another case where the defensive scheme doesn’t best match the player. And if the coaches are unwilling to adjust that scheme to fit his skill set, then Davis might be forced to try and find success elsewhere.
In the meantime, the former first-rounder will have one more season to prove his worth to the Detroit Lions … as well as to any potential suitors for when he could hit free agency next March.