Report: Colts Rumored to be Interested in Florida Linebacker Jarrad Davis
According to DraftAnalyst.com’s Tony Pauline, the Indianapolis Colts are among the teams rumored to be heavily interested in University of Florida inside linebacker Jarrad Davis–along with the Washington Redskins.
Pauline reports that it’s been speculated that Davis could be a Top 20 pick, as the NFL Draft quickly approaches this week:
"Sep 17, 2016; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators linebacker Jarrad Davis (40) during the second quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports“During last Friday’s edition of the DA Draft Buzz, I noted that two teams both grade Florida’s Jarrad Davis as a first-round pick,” writes Pauline. “On Sunday I learned a few teams stamp the linebacker as a top 20-prospect and feel that he’ll be gone by the middle of Round 1.”“The teams I’m hearing that are interested in Davis include the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins.”"
The 6’1″, 238 pound inside linebacker is regarded as one of the best prospects at his position, as he’s ranked as NFL Network’s Mike Mayock’s 4th best inside linebacker.
Davis is coming off a senior season in which he recorded 60 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, and 4 passes defensed in 9 starts–having suffered a knee injury, yet still earning 2nd-Team All-SEC honors.
However, he was highly productive with the Gators, as he was just a season removed from recording 98 total tackles (2nd on the team), 11.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and an interception in 14 games (12 starts) during his junior year–once again earning 2nd-Team All-SEC honors.
Via his NFL.com Draft Profile:
"DRAFT PROJECTIONRounds 1-2SOURCES TELL US“He’s good. I don’t care about some of those holes you are talking about. Kill him so maybe somebody will listen to you and he can fall to us. We’ll take him.” — AFC executiveNFL COMPARISONShaq ThompsonBOTTOM LINEPraised for both his football and personal character, Davis has athletic gifts to go along with the character traits teams are looking for. His ability to cover ground, operate with loose hips in space, and finish his tackles make him a draft favorite for some teams. While it is easy to fall in love with the traits and potential, Will have to take better routes to the ball and learn to keep himself clean against blocks. Should be able to compete for an early starting job as a 4-3 outside backer."
Here’s what other NFL Draft Experts are saying as well:
It goes without saying, but the Colts could clearly use an upgrade at inside linebacker.
While the team signed veterans Sean Spence and Jon Bostic earlier this offseason, neither player can be safely penciled into a starting inside linebacker job–although each figures to heavily compete at the position.
Otherwise, the Colts have a pair of young inside linebackers, Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison (Davis’ former Florida teammate), and while each showed some flashes at the position this past season, they’re also very unpolished for the starting position respectively.
Simply put, the Colts have struggled replacing departed free agent Jerrell Freeman from an offseason ago and released veteran starter D’Qwell Jackson to start the offseason, so there’s definitely a starting job that Davis could immediately win from the get-go.
Even though Freeman was underrated in Indianapolis, the Colts really haven’t had a star sideline-to-sideline inside linebacker, who’s complete against both the run and pass, that Davis could eventually develop into.
Next: Colts Sign Former Bears Inside Linebacker Jon Bostic
It’s worth noting that the Colts have struggled finding inside linebackers who can hold up in coverage and play in space during recent seasons–having had a number of one dimensional, ‘downhill’ inside linebackers otherwise.
From that standpoint, as an every-down player, Davis could anchor the center of the Colts defense for the foreseeable future if he’s indeed Indianapolis’ choice with the 15th overall selection.