Commanders Make Key Jamin Davis Decision Before Draft

Jamin Davis

Getty The Washington Commanders made a key decision about the future of LB Jamin Davis before the 2024 NFL draft.

Linebacker might be a sneaky need for the Washington Commanders in the 2024 NFL draft, after the team declined to pick up the fifth-year option for Jamin Davis.

The news was first reported by Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post. An update from ESPN’s John Keim followed, revealing it “Would not have made much sense to pick up considering this group just got here & signed 2 LBs who can start & hosted a few LBs as potential draft picks.”

As @NickiJhabvala reported the team has declined the 5th year option on LB Jamin Davis. Would not have made much sense to pick up considering this group just got here & signed 2 LBs who can start & hosted a few LBs as potential draft picks. If Davis excels? OK. If not? Move on

Keim’s logic is clear, but Davis could still earn plenty of playing time during a contract year. Thanks to a potential niche role in new head coach Dan Quinn’s defense.

Jamin Davis Option Decision Inevitable

The 19th player drafted in 2021 is now set to be be eligible for free agency after this season. It’s a disappointing outcome for a player who’s never quite lived up to first-round billing. Struggles on the field and problems off it may have contributed to what felt like an inevitable decision, according to Ben Standig of The Athletic.

Keim reported on March 2 this year “Davis had been arrested on March 28, 2022 for reckless driving after he was allegedly clocked in his McLaren going 114 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone in Loudoun County, Virginia, where the Commanders train. Two months later, he was convicted of reckless driving and sentenced to 30 days in jail, but he appealed the ruling.”

Citing court documents, Keim revealed “Davis avoided jail time for a misdemeanor reckless driving charge but had his license suspended for six months.”

On the field, Davis has rarely made full use of his athletic range and downhill instincts. Missed tackles have been a problem, with Pro Football Reference tracking 23 misses in three seasons.

Davis also proved a liability in coverage, surrendering three touchdowns last season. Two of those came against the New York Giants, including this score by Darren Waller, highlighted by Mark Tyler of SB Nation’s Hogs Haven.

This is what you get when two former LB’s don’t value the position.

Here you see Jamin Davis beaten handily by Waller for the TD (first TD for the Giants in a month).

Salvaging Davis is the challenge facing Quinn and new defensive coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. One solution might be to turn No. 52 loose as a pass-rusher more often.

It’s a strategy Standig outlined back in March: “The plan is to have the athletically gifted Davis become a ‘hybrid’ defender, which should translate into less pass coverage and more attempts at getting after quarterbacks.”

That’s a solid option for Davis, but the Commanders have other alternatives who could be more effective.

Commanders Have Draft Alternatives to Jamin Davis

Perhaps the best alternative is Frankie Luvu, a veteran playmaker who arrived from the Carolina Panthers in free agency. Luvu proved useful on the blitz in 2023, rushing 46 times to generate 5.5 sacks and 13 pressures.

Having Luvu attack pass protection will be a key part of Quinn’s system, but that shouldn’t stop the Commanders from drafting a linebacker. Edge defenders like Marshawn Kneeland and Trevin Wallace had pre-draft visits, according to the Pro Football Network.

Both could fill the kind of hybrid, pass-rushing role All-Pro Micah Parsons played for Quinn with the Dallas Cowboys. Like Davis, Wallace has played his collegiate football at Kentucky, where he’s displayed useful skills as a blitzing linebacker, skills shown by this sack against Akron.

Wallace logged 18 sacks in three seasons at Kentucky, per Sports Reference. He fits as a sub-package defender for Quinn’s pressure schemes.

If the Commanders take Wallace off the board in the middle rounds, Davis will face a tougher challenge to even see the field during the final year of his rookie contract.

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