The case of Jahlani Tavai is an interesting one. Tavai is a former second-round pick from the 2019 draft, but has not lived up to that draft position by any means. This preseason, the conflict has continued as Tavai has slimmed down, leading to elevated expectations once again, but he hasn’t been much better on the field. The first preseason game, Tavai was often a step behind, slow to react, and unsuccessful in tackling.
oof Tavai totally whiffed on what would’ve been a TFL on third down
— (@HamzaPOD) August 13, 2021
Question of the day: Will Jahlani Tavai make the 53-man roster?
My answer: I think so, in spite of his underwhelming showing thus far in the preseason.
Tavai is an interesting case, especially now that he has slimmed down. His two years of NFL coaching have come under an archaic defensive scheme that left him vulnerable, and more often than not, several steps behind his opponents. Naturally, it’s going to be a learning curve for him as he transitions to a faster, more mobile defensive scheme.
The Detroit Lions coaching staff has certainly given him attention (albeit not always for the best reasons). Attention, however, is a good thing to get in training camp.
Likewise, the fact that Tavai has simply shown the investment to drop weight and show up willing to adapt to a new scheme should go a long way. As long as Tavai progresses throughout the preseason, which is a low bar given where he’s starting from, I don’t see this coaching staff giving up on him this soon.
What do you think? Will Jahlani Tavai make the 53-man roster?
Will Jahlani Tavai make the 53-man roster?
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