In a pass-first NFL where offenses are increasingly trying to spread defenses horizontally to exploit matchup advantages, teams are looking for more players in the mold of New York Giants linebacker Tae Davis.
Davis is a 224-pound inside linebacker, something that would have been unheard of not that many years ago. He has extensive pass coverage experience, having converted to linebacker as a senior after three years of playing safety at Tennessee-Chattanooga.
Let’s take a closer look at Davis as we continue profiling the players on the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp this summer.
2018 season in review
Davis made the Giants’ 53-man roster after going undrafted, but didn’t play a defensive snap during the season’s first four weeks. By the end of the season he was a full-time defender, playing every defensive snap of the season’s final two games thanks to an injury to Alec Ogletree.
In 344 total snaps, he made 25 tackles. Davis gave up 19 completions in 23 targets (82.6 percent). His Pro Football Focus pass coverage graded of 32.2 was a team-worst. So, the numbers would indicate he really wasn’t successful doing the thing he was supposed to be on the field for.
It’s tough to predict how things are going to unfold for Davis.
Ogletree and B.J. Goodson remain the starting inside linebackers. Veteran Nate Stupar is still around. The Giants drafted Ryan Connelly in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. There is a healthy buzz about Josiah Tauaefa, an undrafted free agent linebacker out of Texas-San Antonio.
So, we shall see. Davis, with a year of experience, might push himself into a bigger role. Considering his lack of success in 2018 and his status as a former undrafted player, though, he could end up pushed off the 53-man roster.
We will just have to see what the competition brings in training camp and the preseason.