After a 2017 season that saw internal strife play a role in the New York Giants crashing to a 3-13 record, perhaps character and leadership should be right there with talent when the Giants consider which players to add to or subtract from their 2018 roster.
Todd Davis of the Denver Broncos is a player who undoubtedly meets the character and leadership criteria. Davis also happens to be a 25-year-old starting-caliber inside linebacker who has played on a quality defense the past couple of seasons.
An undrafted free agent who entered the league in 2014, Davis has started 29 regular-season games for Denver the past two seasons. He is better in run defense than pass coverage, which his three-year stats from the Pro Football Focus Free Agency Guide clearly demonstrate:
Here is more about Davis, from The Denver Post:
This year, the Ed Block Courage Award was given to Todd Davis, another linebacker who defied his status as an undrafted player, and played through multiple injuries (ankle, shoulder) to finish second on the team with 78 total tackles. Since joining the Broncos as a waiver claim in 2014, Davis has made the jump from reserve to starter and he’ll soon hit the open market as a coveted free agent.
“Todd is special. Todd is one of our best leaders,” coach Vance Joseph said. “Todd plays with injuries. Todd never complains. Todd is the same guy every day. Todd is an example of being a great pro. Through the good times and through the bad times, Todd has never changed. His work ethic has never changed. If it’s a walkthrough, Todd is full-speed. Todd is what I want all of our guys to aspire to be.”
Not bad for a guy who was plucked off his couch a few years ago.
“I just made it an effort that I would always go hard in practice and I would know my playbook,” Davis said. “I remember actually a mentor of mine told me that they’ll play the guy who knows the playbook before they play the guy with the most talent. My goal coming to Denver was learn they playbook and give 100 percent effort in practice so that I would never have an opportunity for them to say that I’m not doing my job, I don’t know what to do or I’m not hustling. If I didn’t do that, there would be no reason for me to get cut.”
Here is a little glimpse of what Davis is like during a game:
Here is a brief scouting report on Davis from Tim Lynch of SB Nation’s Broncos blog, Mile High Report:
Todd Davis is a two down linebacker coming off a career year. The Denver Broncos gap attacking scheme suited his skill set perfectly. When he was asked to do other things, he struggled mightily. In coverage, it was almost a guaranteed big play for the opposing offense.
If the New York Giants were to sign him, that is what they would be getting. Perfect in the muck guy who has a knack for shooting through the gap in run support, but a complete liability in coverage or other defensive schemes that ask more from the inside linebackers than what Denver asked of theirs in 2017.
Ideally, of course, you want three-down linebackers who can cover the pass as well as defend the run. They are not, however, easy to find. The only real building block the Giants have at linebacker right now is B.J. Goodson.
Could a player like Davis be another one?