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Giants’ LB Jarrad Davis facing competition for starting role

Davis could start next to Bobby Okereke, or he could end up not making the team at all

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Jarrad Davis
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants dealt with injuries and subpar play from their linebacking corps throughout the 2022 season. Jarrad Davis came in late to try to solidify the unit, to mixed results. Davis is back on a one-year deal and may have the inside track on a starting spot once more. However, there are several younger players on the roster who could try to unseat him.

By the numbers

Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 238
Age: 29
Position: Inside linebacker
Experience: 5
Contract: one-year, $1.18 million | 2023 cap hit: $1.04 million

Career to date

Davis was drafted out of Florida by the Detroit Lions with the 21st pick in 2017. As a rookie, he posted 96 combined tackles, four tackles for loss, three pass breakups, four quarterback hits, two sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. His overall Pro Football Focus grade was 52.8, partially due to the 106.5 passer rating he allowed.

The following season, Davis exceeded those numbers in a full slate of starts, racking up 100 tackles, 10 for loss, five pass breakups, 10 quarterback hits, six sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. His PFF grade wasn’t any better at 51.0, as the passer rating against him stayed at 106.6.

Davis suffered an ankle injury in the preseason of 2019. He missed the first two games of the season and the final three tilts. In his 11 starts, he had 63 tackles, four for loss, five quarterback hits, two sacks, one pass breakup, three forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. His PFF grade plummeted to 38.6 with a passer rating against of 116.0.

Davis’ final year of his rookie deal saw him start just four games. It was actually his best season in terms of PFF grade at 62.2. He gave up a 136.9 passer rating and three touchdowns on just 123 coverage snaps.

The Jets gave Davis another chance, signing him to a one-year deal. His performance was underwhelming, as he had 25 tackles in nine games (five starts) and posted a 28.6 PFF. He also missed the first six games of the year due to injury. Detroit signed him in the 2022 offseason, but he ended up on their practice squad.

After the Lions elevated him for three games during the season, the Giants signed him to their active roster at the end of December. He started the season finale, posting 11 combined tackles, one for a loss, and one quarterback hit. He then started both playoff games and posted seven combined tackles with one QB hit. The Giants re-signed Davis to a veteran-minimum deal this offseason with nothing guaranteed.

2023 outlook

If the season started today, Davis would likely be a starting inside linebacker along with big-ticket free-agent Bobby Okereke. However, the team does have other players who will vie to take over his spot with Darrian Beavers being the most likely competition. Considering that Davis’ contract has no guarantees (other than a $75,000 roster bonus), the Giants can release him at any time with no cap repercussions.

Davis underperformed his draft stock and has not done much more to prove himself since. His PFF grades have tanked in recent years whenever he sees semi-meaningful snaps, as the only area in which he has shown any production is as a pass rusher. His tackling, run defense, and coverage have all been subpar.

With 2022 late-round draft picks Beavers and Micah McFadden and fourth-year man Carter Coughlin still on the team, Davis will need to have a strong camp to maintain his starting spot in the lineup.