Aidan Hutchinson took the college football world by storm this year, but there were two other defenders in the top ten in Heisman voting. One is Alabama sophomore Will Anderson, who lead the NCAA in sacks, and the other is Georgia’s Jordan Davis, who finished the season with 14 tackles and 2 sacks. Wait, what? Davis didn’t fill up the stat sheet, but he was the main reason why the Georgia defense was the second-best in 2021 in yards per game and earned a spot in the College Football Playoff. The behemoth of a man dominated the middle of the defensive line and created plenty of chances for his teammates to make plays. Even though he’s a nose tackle and run-stuffer, Davis has a spot in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft.
Davis is 6’6″ and 340 pounds. Is there really anything else to say? No offensive lineman can block him by themselves which means that he requires at least two guys on every play. Putting him on the field totally changes the way the opposing offense operates and teams would avoid running up the middle altogether to avoid going at Davis. Fast guys get slower, but big guys don’t get smaller.
For being as large as Davis is, he moves incredibly well. So much so that there are a few times where he is able to sidestep a center or guard to make a play in the backfield. Because of his strength and size, linemen will overcompensate and be too aggressive. Due to this, they’ll be off-balance when Davis decides to use his first step to the side rather than going forward. Also, when you try running outside, Davis will follow the ball and track down the ball carrier. His ability to move laterally and forward at his size makes him such a unique prospect.
Ability To Control the Line
This goes hand-in-hand with his size, but there was no better interior defensive lineman in college football at controlling the line of scrimmage. His ability to manipulate and occupy blockers to go where he wants them to go is advanced for a college football player. The impact Davis has on a game isn’t measured in the box score, rather how he creates opportunities for his linebackers to make plays. When you don’t allow guards or centers to get to the second level, you completely eliminate the run game from being successful.
When you’re as big as Davis is, you can’t expect them to be in elite football condition. Davis has to go out a decent amount, even for a defensive lineman. Also, there are times where he looks gassed out and is unable to gain much of a push. If you want him to lose weight, you run the risk of losing some of that strength. If he stays at his current weight though, you have to expect him to be part of a rotation and not an iron man. It’s a tough situation, but with his skill, it’s a welcomed one for a creative defensive play-caller.
Davis won’t be drafted to get ten sacks a year. He likely won’t even get five in many years. Because of this, he won’t be too useful on third downs and was taken off of the field at Georgia on obvious passing situations. He’s not a bad pass rusher by any means because he still occupies two blocks, but he doesn’t have the refinement or pass rush arsenal to really strike too much fear. He’s a complementary piece on third-down rather than the focus.
Jordan Davis is as fascinating of a prospect as you’ll find in the 2022 draft. He’s a mountain of a man and has size that you can’t teach. He can become a Vita Vea-type player for a team, disrupting the run game and occupying blocks so your pass rushers will get better matchups. However, he’s almost too big and is a two-down player in a league that’s focusing more and more on the pass. There’s no doubt he’s not for everyone and some teams will not see the appeal of him. Despite this, the market for him will still be hot. As long as things go well in the pre-draft process, you can count on his name being called on day one.