The Washington Football Team defense was ranked 5th overall in 2020. That defense returns every starter in 2021 aside from CB Ronald Darby, who was replaced by William Jackson III, and weakside linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, who also left in free agency.
With the signing of Jackson at CB, the Washington defense got better; the same is true with the drafting of Jamin Davis out of Kentucky. Davis called the opportunity "a dream come true" when talking with reporters on Thursday night.
Davis is an athletically gifted player who had run up mock draft boards over recent weeks.
Davis ran a 4.42 40-yard dash and jumped 42 inches in the vertical leap testing. He has an 80" wingspan. But it's the on-field tape that shows what he can do.
At 6'3", 235 pounds, Jamin Davis perfectly fits the mold of the modern NFL linebacker with sideline-to-sideline speed. He is a reliable tackler, collecting 102 tackles in 2020, playing in the SEC. But he offers what Washington really lacks at the linebacker position: coverage ability.
Davis was a 3-down player who was trusted in coverage playing for Kentucky. As a linebacker, he collected interceptions in his college career, including 3 in 2020 (with a pick 6). He is a likely Day 1 starter for Washington as he joins a very thin linebacker room, instantly improving one of the NFL's best 2020 defenses.
With only one season of high production in his college career, Davis has tons of potential and is likely to improve steadily as he gets playing time in the NFL.
Washington used its 19th overall pick to plug a huge hole in the defense, and with that pick, is immediately projected to be one of the very best defenses in the NFL in the coming season. This is the first time in a long time that Washington has had a complete, every-down linebacker at its disposal. He should be an absolute beast behind what is arguably the best defensive line in the NFL.
On Friday, with three picks in the 2nd & 3rd rounds, expect Martin Mayhew and Ron Rivera to target offensive tackle, free safety and tight end as they seek to improve the roster of the defending NFC East champions in a bid to return to the playoffs.