Marlon Davidson Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Tough as nails
Powerful bull rush
Can set the edge
Strength to work off blocks
Strong run defender
Takes on and sheds blocks
Strong, active hands
Uses hands and feet at the same time
Has some quickness
Plays with good leverage
Quality lateral anchor
Reliable to hold his ground
Can rush from the inside
Special teams contributor
Excellent fit as a five-technique in a 3-4
Sturdy to be a base end in a 4-3
Not a great athlete
Lacks elite speed as an edge rusher
Could use more pass-rushing moves
Could be solid pro but not super productive as a pass rusher
Can struggle to dip his hips to get pointed to the quarterback
Short arms (32.88 inches)
Summary: Auburn has produced a number of good NFL defensive line prospects in recent years, so it said a lot about Davidson that he was able to work his way onto the field as a freshman. In 2016, he had had 38 tackles with six for a loss, 2.5 sacks, four passes batted and one forced fumble. Davidson then totaled 43 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 2017.
Davidson was improved as a junior and senior despite playing banged up at times. In his third season, Davidson had 46 tackles with 4.5 for a loss, 3.5 sacks and three passes broken up. He was a big presence on special teams in 2018, notching a number of blocked kicks. The NFL was available, but Davidson made a wise decision to return for his senior year, and he showed improved pass-rush ability in 2019. Davidson had 49 tackles with 7.5 sacks and two forced fumbles over the season while forming an excellent tandem with star defensive tackle Derrick Brown.
For the NFL, Davidson is a physical defender at the point of attack who is tough as nails and difficult to move in the ground game. He holds his gap well with the strength to work off blocks. With his quality lateral anchor and good leverage, offensive linemen struggle to move Davidson. He takes on and sheds blocks to get in on tackles that help produce quality down-and-distance situations. Davidson has a steady motor and doesn't quit on plays. With his strength, build, good fundamentals, and technique, Davidson should be an asset as a run defender at the next level.
Davidson solidly contributes to the pass rush, but is not a world beater. He does not have elite speed and athleticism off the edge. Davidson has a powerful bull rush and some quickness out of his stance, but he is stiff and can struggle to dip his hips to redirect to the quarterback. As a rusher, Davidson presents some versatility to move inside and go against guards. Davidson will probably never be a prolific sacker of the quarterback at the next level, but he could be a really good complement on the other side from an elite edge rusher.
Davidson can line up on the edge or move inside to tackle as a three-technique. For the NFL. his best fit cold come as a base end in a 4-3 or playing five-technique in a 3-4. While Davidson does not have ideal height and length for a five-technique, his strength and toughness would allow him to play there.
Davidson has a shot at being pick in the back half of the first round in the 2020 NFL Draft. If he isn't chosen in Round 1, he should go in the second round.
Player Comparison: Allen Bailey. Davidson reminds me some of a better version of Bailey. Bailey (6-3, 288) and Davidson are almost identical in size, with both being hard-nosed football players who display toughness at the point of attack. Bailey had six sacks in 2018, and in the NFL, I think Davidson will top out in the 6-8 sack range during the good years of his career.