As the Jets get closer to training camp, I am examining the roster and giving you my top 25 players. Each weekday, we will reveal another person on the list, leading right into camp. I am not including rookies on this list because I do not feel it is possible to fully evaluate them before they play a game.
No. 10: Jarrad Davis
Last year’s ranking: Unranked (not on team)
Age on Opening Day: 26
How acquired: Signed a one-year, $5.5 million free agent contract on March 18
Years left on contract: 1
2021 Salary Cap figure: $5.5 million
Looking back at 2020
Davis fell out of favor in Detroit and saw his playing time plummet last season.
Davis played just 29 percent of the defensive snaps, down from 57 percent in 2019 and 99 percent in 2018. He started in just four games, played in 14 and had 46 tackles, one-half sack and two forced fumbles. He missed 10 tackles. Davis was on the COVID-19 list for one game and inactive with a knee injury in another.
It is hard to know what to make of Davis’ season because of his limited playing time. He did not even play enough snaps to qualify for PFF’s rankings.
Outlook for 2021
The Jets are banking on a change of scenery and new defensive system to bring out the best in Davis. The Jets believe that he is a fit for Robert Saleh’s defense and will thrive playing next to C.J. Mosley in the 4-3.
The Jets surely did their homework on what happened with the Lions. It is possible he just did not mesh with the coaching staff there, and the Jets now believe they can get more out of him.
It is clear that he has talent. Davis was taken in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft by Detroit. I have always thought first-round picks who flop do benefit from a new team where they are no longer viewed through that lens. Whatever Davis did in Detroit was always going to be accompanied by the “first-round pick” tag. With the Jets, he is now viewed as a player with few expectations. The Jets gave him a one-year deal for decent money, but he will be able to fly more under the radar with the Jets and that could benefit him.
The Jets hope Davis can get back to the player he was in 2018 when he had 100 tackles and six sacks.
One area to watch with Davis is coverage. Saleh’s defense asks the linebackers to be good in coverage and Davis has not been. He had a reception percentage of 92.9 last season, per PFF, and 80.3 for his career. He gave up three passing touchdowns in coverage. That could be a problem in Saleh’s system.