2019 NFL Draft Player Preview: Raekwon Davis

  • Raekwon Davis, 6-6/316

  • Defensive Tackle

  • Alabama

  • Raekwon Davis 2018 Preview
    By Charlie Campbell

    Career Recap: Alabama has been a factory for top defensive line talent under Nick Saban. Marcell Dareus, Jonathan Allen and Da'Ron Payne were all top-20 picks this decade, and Davis has the potential to keep that tradition going in the 2019 NFL Draft.

    Davis had only four tackles and a sack while in backup duty as a freshman. Thus, many didn't see 2017 coming, when the sophomore broke out as the replacement for Allen. Davis formed a lethal interior with Payne, and Davis was Alabama's most consistent pass-rusher. He totaled 8.5 sacks, 10 tackles for a loss, 69 tackles, and one interception on the year. He came up with some big performances in the playoff games to help Alabama win another National Championship.

    2018 Season Outlook: Davis has a pretty easy schedule in the first half of the season, when Alabama has a lot of games against teams that have had problems on the offensive line in recent seasons, including Louisville, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. Additionally, there are some cupcake games for a to pad his stats against Arkansas State, Louisiana and The Citadel. Davis will see some better offensive lines in the back half of the season, when Alabama takes on division rivals LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn. Perhaps the best guard who Davis will see all year is Tennessee sophomore Tre Smith. Smith has first-round potential for the 2020 NFL Draft, so the game versus the Volunteers on Oct. 20 could be the best opportunity to evaluate Davis during the 2018 season.

    Skill-Set Summary: For the NFL, Davis looks like a tremendous talent who could be a tone-setter on the defensive line. He is a well-balanced player who is effective as a run blocker with impressive pass-rushing skills for an interior defensive lineman. Davis was only playing in his first season as a starter during 2017, so his upside is scary. With his excellent skill set, Davis could end up being one of the elite prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft.

    In the passing-driven NFL, defensive tackles who can get after the quarterback are always highly coveted as they are a tough commodity to find. Davis showed serious pass-rushing skills in 2017. He is fast at the point of attack to get upfield and gain leverage by firing by guards. On top of his first-step quickness, Davis has a burst to close, and when he breaks free, he gets on the quarterback in a blur. Beyond his good speed, Davis possesses excellent hand usage that is surprisingly well developed for such a young player. He uses his hands and feet at the same time to make him very difficult to block. With his rip move, swim move, and upper-body strength to toss blockers aside, Davis utliizes his hands to shed blocks consistently. He also has a powerful bull rush.

    Davis is also a tough defender for the ground game. He is very stout at the point of attack. When runs come downhill at him, he is able to anchor and hold his ground. He also shows the strength to shed and tackle. Routinely, Davis bulls his way into the backfield to blow up runs and resets the line of scrimmage. Davis' put-together body combined with his speed and athleticism make him almost impossible to move out of his gap or keep quiet in run defense.

    According to a watch-list spreadsheet from NFL sources, Davis checks in at 6-foot-6 (6067) and 316 pounds. That is superb size for a defensive tackle, and Davis carries that weight well. He has 35.25-inch arms, 10.88-inch hands, and a wingspan of 85.25 inches. That is excellent length for a defensive lineman, and his speed is illustrated by a projected 5.17-second time for the 40-yard dash. There is no doubt that Davis is a freaky athlete.

    Davis shoul fit any NFL scheme. In a 4-3 defense, he could be a devastating three-technique. Most three-techniques possess the size of Davis, yet he has the speed of a smaller defender. In a 3-4 defense, Davis could serve as an excellent fit as a five-technique defensive end with the ability to rush from the inside in the sub package. He also could play nose tackle in either a 3-4 or a 4-3. Davis has the potential to be an impactful starter quickly in his NFL career, and I think he could end up being a force with a long career filled with many Pro Bowl appearances.

    2019 NFL Draft Expectations: Entering his junior season, Davis has high first-round potential and looks like one of the top prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft.



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