As you’ve surely seen by now, Jamin Davis was selected No. 19 by the Washington Football Team last night, coming off the board several picks earlier than most experts predicted. Even though there were rumors Washington would trade up for a quarterback, head coach Ron Rivera said building a team was his priority, and Davis was the perfect piece.
“Jamin was the highest player we had ranked defensively,” Rivera said. “He understands our culture. He has a tremendous background, the kind of background that I look for. Very smart and intelligent young man. Plays the game at the right tempo. He understands what they do and that will translate very well into how we do things. He’s the kind of fit in terms of, he has position flex, he can play all of our linebacking positions. He’s got that kind of athletic ability. He’s what you look for in a football player.”
Davis’ numbers — a team-high 102 tackles last season — are obviously eye-popping, but Rivera was equally impressed by the Ludowici, Ga. native’s character and military background.
“I think we’re getting a solid fit to what we’re trying to create in terms of the culture,” Rivera said. “We talk about having a sustainable, winning culture. These are the kind of guys you want to plug in. Very strong family support. He was a military brat, as was mentioned earlier. He was born in Hawaii on a military base. Again, I’m very partial to guys like that because I played with a lot of guys who have that family background. He’s a solid young man who’s very bright and very intelligent. As I said, I just really believe he’s the right kind of fit for us.”
Rivera also liked Davis’s team-first attitude, which came across in interviews.
“He talked in such a positive fashion of all the things that were positive in his life he’d gotten through his family. Then you start talking about him and he wants to talk about his team. That, I found very refreshing because it was always about, ‘Well, we did this as team, we did this, and the guys were like this.’ So, the conversation wasn’t really just about him, him, him, and that really struck me as a real positive as well.”
Davis was viewed as a late riser by the media, but Rivera said he was impressed by the inside linebacker throughout the evaluation process. Davis really jumped on Washington’s radar after their scouts watched him put up ridiculous numbers at Kentucky’s Pro Day. After completely clearing the sticks on his initial vertical jump, Davis recorded a 42-inch vertical leap. He also turned in an 11’0″ broad jump. After watching tape, Rivera was also impressed by Davis’ versatility.
“As I was going through the process, he just kept sticking out,” Rivera said. “There were several guys that we really liked because of their athleticism, their abilities, but this guy had the most position flex than any of them and that’s important to me because I believe a guy that can play all your linebacking positions will learn quickly, will develop quickly, and can help others around them. Again, as I said, the thing that struck me is how bright he is. He’s a sharp young man and I think that translates well into what we do and how we play and giving him the opportunity he’s going to earn is pretty exciting.”
Great stuff. Check out all of Rivera and Washington General Manager Martin Mayhew’s comments below.