Detroit Lions: Why Jarrad Davis could be a surprise training camp cut

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

A 2017 first-round pick by the Detroit Lions, Jarrad Davis could be cut before his rookie contract is up

It’s very clear the Detroit Lions haven’t been happy with their linebacker play under head coach Matt Patricia. This offseason they threw bookoo bucks at free agent Jamie Collins, used a third-round pick on EDGE/OLB hybrid Julian Okwara, and also signed ex- Kansas City Chief Reggie Ragland. All this is after using a second-round pick on a linebacker Jahlani Tavai just a year ago.

If the offseason signings weren’t clear enough, the decision to not pick up Jarrad Davis‘ fifth-year option this spring made everything crystal. Either they don’t see him being a part of their future or they don’t believe he’s worth the money.

Any which way you try and cut it, it hints they don’t think much of Davis. Which also means he is most definitely expendable under the right circumstances. Those circumstances may have arrived via free agency this summer.

Yes, I read what Patricia said about Davis being a ‘cornerstone’ of what we’re trying to do’ … but actions speak louder than words and I put almost zero stock into a head coach’s ‘coach-speak’ to the media (history is on my side).

Detroit’s base defense isn’t a 3-4 … it also isn’t a 4-3 … but a 3-3-5 nickel base, that’s how they play and that’s how they draft. The second three in that formula are the linebackers and more often than not one of those three linebackers is a ‘JACK LB’ playing an EDGE role on the line-of-scrimmage.

While the Lions’ drool over position flexibility, especially in their defensive fronts, linebackers generally have strengths or weaknesses that place them as primarily an off-ball linebacker or on-ball linebacker.

With all the flux in personnel this offseason, let’s see what the Lions really have at the position in 2020.

Rostered LBs:

Primary off-ball LBs:

  • Jamie Collins
  • Jahlani Tavai
  • Jarrad Davis
  • Reggie Ragland
  • Christian Jones
  • Jalen Reeves-Maybin
  • Elijah Lee
  • Miles Killebrew
  • Christian Sam
  • Jason Cabinda

Primary on-ball LBs:

  • Jamie Collins
  • Christian Jones
  • Julian Okwara
  • Austin Bryant
  • Anthony Pittman

(With all the safety depth, I think linebacker is the only real route for Killebrew to stand a chance for a roster spot)