Man-coverage potential against tight ends and running backs
Quality run defender
Strength to stonewall backs
Explosive coming downhill
Asset to spy mobile quarterbacks
Fits a 4-3 or 3-4 defense
Stays around the ball
Quick to the flat
Lack of experience
Can take a bad angle at times
Needs to get faster at reading his keys, diagnosis
Needs to work on taking on and shedding blocks
Summary: Head coach Mark Stoops has done an excellent and underrated job at Kentucky of finding some good players who fly under the radar and blossom into good NFL prospects. Davis is continuing that trend even though he does not have a lot of starting experience entering the NFL. As mostly a backup in 2019, Davis totaled 32 tackles and an interception. He then put together an impressive 2020 as a starter for Kentucky, showing the ability to be difference maker in both phases. Davis totaled 89 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, two passes defended and two interceptions on the year.
In the passing-driven NFL, a linebacker has to be a good player in coverage, and Davis has three-down starter ability and is a real asset for defending the pass. Davis is phenomenal in zone, covering a lot of ground in the middle of the field and covering the flat sideline-to-sideline. Displaying impressive vision to go along with his speed and long frame, Davis glides in coverage, moving to cover up receivers and making his presence felt by being around the ball. Davis gets depth in his drop with smooth athleticism and agility for a big linebacker. While he will need development to play man coverage on tight ends and running backs, he has the physical skill set to do it and could add that ability after some NFL development.
Davis is a solid run defender who has instincts and strength at the point of attack. With his speed and athleticism, Davis can fire to the flat or work his way through trash to make tackles in the box. He plays downhill and uses his strength to get ball-carriers to the turf.
Davis can pack a punch on running backs, and his strong base and upper body power allow him to stonewall power backs in the hole, bending them backward and preventing them from falling forward. For the NFL, Davis could stand to improve his ability to take on and shed blocks. He also could stand to get faster at reading his keys and diagnosing plays. Those issues are understandable given his lack of playing, and they could easily be resolved after he gains more experience.
For the next level, Davis looks like a versatile linebacker who could play on the inside of a 3-4 defense. He also would fit well in a 4-3 defense as a Mike - middle - linebacker or a Sam - strong side - linebacker. In the sub package, he could be a middle linebacker who locks down the middle seam and middle of the field.
Team sources say Davis could be a late first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and probably won't last long if he makes it to Round 2.
Player Comparison: Zach Cunningham. Davis compare well with Cunningham in terms of his size and speed. Cunningham( 6-3, 238) and Davis are almost identical in size and have the speed and the athleticism to be assets in pass coverage. Cunningham needed to get better at taking on shedding and blocks coming out of Vanderbilt as well. Cunningham was an astute second-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Rick Smith-led Texans that drafted Deshaun Watson a round earlier. Davis could be a similar steal as a late first-round or second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.