Ex-Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis: Deal with Jets is ‘a rebirth’ of his career

Detroit News
By Dj Bien-Aime Ii |  New York Daily News

Jarrad Davis’ one-year, $6 million deal with the Jets has breathed new life into his career.

After being a first-round pick by the Detroit Lions in 2017, Davis’ time in the NFL has been disappointing. In four seasons he had 305 total tackles, 10.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss and one interception. But by his last season, his playing time dwindled to only four starts.

But Davis doesn’t have any animosity for the Lions, who declined his fifth-year option in May 2020. He viewed it as a learning experience.

“It was a great learning experience for me and made me appreciate the game more than before,” Davis said to reporters. “Sure, my performance could have been better, but at the end of the day, it is what it is, no hard feelings, no bad blood.

“I definitely feel very excited to be in New York, with this scheme, Coach (Robert) Saleh, and the players out there,” Davis said. “I’m happy to be on a team that is young and talented. I feel extremely blessed to be in this position because it didn’t have to go this way. For lack of a better term, it’s a rebirth.”

The 4-3 scheme Saleh runs is a natural fit for Davis since he played in a similar system during his collegiate career at Florida. And in Saleh’s defense they prefer linebackers with speed and athleticism and Davis has that. He ran a 4.56 at his pro day in 2017.

“I’m very familiar with what we got going on. It just comes down to just getting back familiar with it,” Davis said. “It’s like hopping back on that bike. So, I really enjoyed the scheme. I like it a lot. It allows us to really just show who we are as athletes, all 11 players on the field at the same time. It really lets us just be who we are out there as individuals.”

As offseason workouts have progressed, Jets’ defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich is starting to see a rejuvenated Davis.

“His time for whatever the case may be, in the league, so far was not what he expected the NFL to be,” Ulbrich said. “It just feels like we’re breathing new life into him and he’s just improving every day… Very excited about finally having that opportunity to work with him.”

And Saleh has been pleased with what he’s seen from Davis so far.

“At the linebacker level what we do on defense is so different than what other linebackers do around the league,” Saleh said. “He’s been doing a really nice job with regards to absorbing all the information, all of them really, CJ (Mosley) included. Embracing the coaching, the tape, the drill work, all of it. They’ve incrementally gotten better this entire OTAs.”

If the linebacker pair of Davis and C.J. Mosley can play to their potential, it’ll stabilize the unit which would help the entire defense.

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