The 2022 NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and the Atlanta Falcons have quickly become one of the most intriguing teams to watch in this year’s event. There are a number of ways the Falcons can go with their No. 8 overall pick, and they’ve got five of the top 82 picks in this draft.
In the lead-up to this important draft for Atlanta, we’re going to be providing our evaluations of some of the top prospects. For those unfamiliar with our process, we’re using Kevin Knight’s own grading system, which you can read about here. This system is still in development and minor tweaks may be made as more data is available.
Today’s prospect is Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis. One of the most dominant players in college football, Davis offers elite run defense and the potential to impact the game as a pass rusher. If the Falcons are seriously considering a true 3-4 defensive approach, Davis would single-handedly put them on that path.
DT | Jordan Davis | Georgia | #99
Games watched: Alabama (CFP), Florida, Clemson, Arkansas
Jordan Davis was arguably the key defensive piece on one of the best defenses college football has seen in quite some time. Davis is an interesting prospect to evaluate. On the one hand, it’s rare to see someone move as he does at 6 feet, 6 inches and weighing 341 pounds. On the other, he is still a developing pass rusher and his athleticism does have some clear limitations.
That being said, it’s very easy to see how Davis can make an impact at the next level. From Day 1, he should immediately improve his team’s run defense. His pass-rushing skills need NFL coaching, but the traits are there to round out his game with time. Perhaps the biggest obstacle facing Davis at the next level is his ability to stay on the field (he rotated frequently at Georgia) but even as a two-down player early on, he will be difficult to contain for opposing linemen.
Some of the splashiest plays in college football last season came from Davis, which is saying a lot for essentially a nose tackle. His quickness off the line allows him to make plays in the backfield, and he will anchor down against double teams to collapse the interior of an offense. Many of the great 3-4 defenses over the years have featured a mountainous nose tackle, and Davis looks like the next version of your Haloti Ngata, Casey Hampton, Vince Wilfork type of interior player.
It’s been shown that you can build a defense around this type of player not only because of the individual impact he can make but also because of the residual improvements he allows for the rest of the unit.
Good jump off the ball to beat down blocks. Can quickly knife into the gap fairly well for how large he is. Won’t be the first off the line every time.
Plays with pretty good leverage for a player his size. Leverage can be inconsistent, and he will play high, but it rarely made a difference due to his strength. Really delivers a pop when he stays low.
Hand Technique: 6
Gets hands inside to control opposing offensive linemen. Displays a quick hand swipe on speed moves. Hand activity comes and goes, and isn’t always consistently busy.
Pass Rush: 5
Quick swim move that pairs nicely with bull rush. Uses counter moves to win on longer plays. Needs to develop a better rush plan. Lacked a consistent motor as a pass rusher, perhaps the reason he was rotated out.
Run Defense: 8
Could not be moved by a single blocker, alone. Can hold the interior line of scrimmage while defending multiple gaps. Frees up players behind him. Will alter offensive approaches in this area.
Will be one of the strongest men on any field he sets foot on. Power to successfully hold double teams. Pushed offensive linemen straight into the lap of the quarterback.
Competitive Toughness: 6
Rages against double teams. Play intensity often matches the moment, in a good way. Will give up when a play is clearly past him.
Football IQ: 6
Diagnosis plays well. Keeps eyes in the backfield. Understands gap assignments and how to beat leverage. Knows role on twists and stunts.
Made the entire defense more productive when on the field. Did not miss a tackle in his final 41 tackles attempts to end his career, per PFF. Seven sacks in collegiate career. Was rotated off the field throughout his career, limiting his snap totals.
Lined up in multiple spots along the defensive line, but was primarily a 0- or 1-technique, which is where he’s best suited. Does have the athleticism to handle himself on outer gaps when moving. Able to play the A and B gaps at a high level. Did play offense in goal-line situations for Georgia.
Athleticism: 9.99, 20/20
Dominated at the NFL Combine, putting together a historic performance for a player his size. Athletic freak at the position, and should continue to be so in the NFL.