Detroit Lions: Make or break season for linebacker Jarrad Davis

Jarrad Davis, Detroit Lions (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Jarrad Davis, Detroit Lions (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

With Jarrad Davis entering his final contract year with the Detroit Lions, he’s on the hot seat.

Jarrad Davis’ tenure with the Detroit Lions has been up and down, to say the least. The fourth-year linebacker has shown flashes of being a top-tier draft pick, as well as why Detroit maybe should’ve drafted someone else. Either way, this upcoming season is a do or die year for Davis.

Since being drafted in the first round back in 2017, Davis has a total of 259 tackles with 18 of those being for a loss, nine pass deflections, and only one interception. Not awful stats by any means, but definitely below average for a guy that was picked 21st overall.

Last season was definitely not one for the record books as Davis played a mere 11 games due to injury. In his time on the field, he only had 63 tackles, four of which were behind the line, and only a single pass deflection. Undoubtedly it was the worst season of his career so far.

Now, some of you may say “the stats don’t tell the whole story.” Well, technically you would be right. When looking at Davis’ three seasons, you would think the drop-off in 2019 was because of injury. Which is partly true. But at the same time, he still didn’t produce in the time that he was on the field.

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Right from the beginning, it was clear that Davis was going to be a liability when it came to pass coverage. He seems to struggle picking up receivers across the middle in zone coverage. And his tunnel vision causes his lack of awareness of routes developing behind him.

What about man to man coverage you may ask? Forget about it. You might as well not even try to put him up against a running back or a slot receiver. All it takes is one cut and Davis will already be out of position.

Can 2020 be a productive season for Jarrad Davis with the Detroit Lions?

His one strength is his run defense, well, when he’s consistent with it at least. When Davis excels in the run game, he really excels. He’s a big hitter and has the potential to stop most running backs at the initial point of contact. The main problem is that he can’t seem to be consistent in his rushing defense.

There are many times when Davis will over pursuit on a play, or be late to plugging a whole, which allows the ball carrier to have space to make a move on him. He struggles with his lateral movement and getting his hips square which causes him being off balance, and attempting to make weak arm tackles.

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Entering the fourth and final year of his contract, this is Jarrad Davis’ contract year. He has to show the Detroit Lions that he’s a long-term solution at the middle linebacker position. If he has another subpar year, and fails to fix his previous mistakes, he could be seeing the boot after the 2020 season.