New York Jets: Demario Davis will have breakout season


When it comes to inside linebacker Demario Davis of the New York Jets, he is expected to have a huge presence in head coach Todd Bowles‘ defense. Davis progressed tremendously under former head coach Rex Ryan going from a special teams player as a rookie in 2012 to starting every regular season game along side David Harris since 2013. Going into his contract year, Davis is expected to have an even larger role in the Jets’ newly established defense.

Last year, Davis had arguably one of his best seasons in Gotham recording 116 total tackles with 3.5 sacks through 16 complete games. The 26 year-old linebacker out of Arkansas State has worked harder than any other athlete this off-season, mainly because Davis is entering his final year of his rookie contract. The former third-round selection of the 2012 draft will be looking to pile up millions in his contract year.

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Davis definitely has progressed as all teams would hope a mid-round draft pick would, some would even say he has exceeded expectations over his first few seasons in the league. Davis started out as one of the teams most dominant special teams players in 2012, became a starter on defense in 2013 and molded into one of the best players on the Jets’ defense in 2014.

He finished the 2014 season with 116 tackles, second behind fellow inside linebacker Harris, recorded 3.5 sacks and had two fumble recoveries. Pro Football Focus rated Davis 15th out of the 60 inside linebackers they graded. He brings a huge presence to their defense not just from a physical standpoint but as a leader. Davis is a big reason as to why the Jets’ defense finished fifth overall against stopping the run.

Davis flies around the field making tackles left and right, he did miss nine tackles last season but that can be overlooked when you have 116 in total. His only weakness is coverage, opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of 116.9 when throwing the ball in his general direction, he also gave up four passing touchdowns last season.

2015 is a big year for Davis as he is eligible to become a free agent following this season. It’s highly unlikely the Jets part ways with the young linebacker unless he’s seeking a lucrative contract. His plans for this year are to pick up where he left off last season.

Jun 9, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets inside linebacker Demario Davis (56) catches a ball during New York Jets minicamp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Considering he’s a very versatile player, Davis can move to the outside if the Jets’ defense were to move to a 4-3 look, which Bowles has said they may do. He is a very underrated pass rusher, if Bowles can put together some creative blitz packages moving Davis outside and rushing the quarterback, his sack numbers could double.

I remember sitting down on my couch and watching the 2012 NFL Draft when the Jets drafted Quinton Coples in the first round and Stephen Hill in the second round. When the third round came and Davis’s name was called by the NFL commissioner, I immediately looked up highlight videos of his time at Arkansas State.

I remember seeing him make impossible tackles, rushing the quarterback and making explosive hits on opposing teams players. I said to myself from the beginning that Davis is going to be someone to watch. Fast forward four years later and he is now one of our most dominant and consistent players on defense.

The duo of Davis and Harris as starting inside linebackers is as dominant and completely underrated as it gets. With the linebacker corps beefed up slightly this off-season as Harris received a brand new three-year contract and the Jets drafted linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin in the third round of the 2015 draft, the Jets’ defense has the potential of moving up in the top five defenses against the run.

Next: New York Jets: 5 reasons why they will still make NFL Playoffs

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