Another First Round Pick For Kentucky
For the second time in three years, the Kentucky Wildcats have a player selected in the first round. Two years ago Josh Allen went seventh to Jacksonville. On Thursday night linebacker Jamin Davis was picked 19th by the Washington Football Team. Let’s take a look at Davis’s history at Kentucky and how he fits in Washington.
Our defense just got better 😈 pic.twitter.com/wGaheSDzFV
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) April 30, 2021
A Remarkable Jump
During his first two years in Lexington Davis served primarily as a backup. In fact, heading into his junior year he was slotted behind Chris Oats on the depth chart. However, Oats suffered a stroke last summer and was unable to play football. With the “next man up” mentality Davis stepped in and had a phenomenal season. For the year Davis recorded 102 tackles. That ranked him not only second in the Southeastern Conference but seventh in the nation. In addition, he had four tackles for a loss, one-and-a-half sacks, and three interceptions, including one for a touchdown. Last Word named Davis Kentucky’s defensive player of the year.
His eye-popping stats for a player his size at Kentucky’s Pro Day only helped his rise up the mock drafts. Measuring at six-foot-three-inches and 234 pounds he ran a 4.37 40 yard dash, had a 42-inch vertical jump, and an 11-inch broad jump. Those were some of the best overall numbers by a linebacker.
When he announced he was turning pro, Davis was considered a third-round pick in most mock drafts. However, thanks to his pro day heading into Thursday night most of Davis’ draft projections had him going in the first round. CBS Sports had him the highest at ninth for Denver. Another popular choice was the Washington Football Team at 19th. As it turned out that’s where he went. He was not in Cleveland but took in the festivities with his family in Georgia. Here’s the moment he was selected by Washington.
— Lyndsey Gough (@LGonTV) April 30, 2021
How He Fits In
Davis gets to play for head coach Ron Rivera, who was a linebacker on the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears. Of course, that defense is widely regarded as one of the best in NFL History. After several years as an assistant, Rivera got a head coaching job in 2011. He spent nine years with the Carolina Panthers, winning coach of the year twice. In addition, he led them to Super Bowl 50 where they lost to the Denver Broncos.
Last season, Rivera’s first as Washington head coach, the Washington Football Team finished 7-8 but still won the NFC East. However, it lost 31-23 to eventual Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay. Even still, Davis comes into one of the best defenses in the league. In 2020 they allowed 20.6 points per game, 4th best in the league. He joins a linebacker group anchored by Jonathan Bostic and Cole Holcomb, who combined for 190 tackles last season. With some established, talented players Davis can come in, learn the system and not have to contribute right away.
Recruit And Develop
With Davis being picked 19th by the Washington Football team in the 2021 NFL Draft it’s another great showing for Mark Stoops and the Wildcats with their “recruit and develop” motto. Davis makes the third first-round pick for Kentucky since Stoops has been in Lexington, joining Allen and Bud Dupree in 2015. Overall he’s the 16th first-round pick in school history. In addition, he’s another in a string of great linebackers coming out of Lexington.
From 1995 to 2012 @UKFootball had ONE linebacker drafted.
Since @UKCoachStoops took over UK has had 5 linebackers drafted over the last 7 drafts.
3 in the 1st round.
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) April 30, 2021
By the time the draft is over Kentucky has a great opportunity of equaling its most players drafted since 1979 of seven. We’ll have a complete recap of Kentucky’s 2021 NFL Draft here at Last Word On College Football.