Can Ryan Davis Improve With More Playing Time?


Ryan Davis was an ultra-productive pass rusher for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014. In fact, he was productive by pretty much any standard you measure him by. He comes in as the second most productive pass rusher from the defensive tackle position (among defensive tackles with at least 25% of a team’s snaps) per Pro Football Focus, the 24th most productive pass rusher (among all 93 4-3 defensive ends) according to PFF and Sports Illustrated just noted Davis as one of the best multi-gap rushers in the NFL.

So, it’s curious when you see that he only played 310 total snaps in the 2014 season. In some games he saw five or less snaps total. While we’re all hoping he gets more chances going forward, the defensive line is a crowded unit for the Jaguars and a guy without a set position may find it hard to work his way into seeing even more snaps. Other more known commodities like Jared Odrick could see time in roles that Davis could fill for the team, forcing him out.

The fact that Davis isn’t a proven commodity is tough for the Jaguars. They brought in Odrick this offseason, locked down the defensive tackle position long term as well, and they managed to find their dedicated pass rusher of the future at third overall with Dante Fowler Jr. Fowler won’t be on the field in 2015 due to an ACL injury suffered in his first weekend practicing, but the more high profile players the Jaguars have make playing time tough to come by. It would be a shame to see such an efficient rusher taken out of the lineup simply because the other players are seen as more known commodities.

Fortunately for Davis, I don’t think that head coach Gus Bradley will deny him playing time too much. He’s been too productive when on the field to ignore.

So we have to wonder if 2014 was just a fluke or if the real Ryan Davis has finally shown up and he can be relied upon as a versatile pass rusher with the Jaguars.

Ryan Davis had just one sack to his name before his explosion to 6.5 in 2014 (credited with eight per PFF). That’s a major increase in production. Tack on a handful of hits and hurries along with two passes blocked and you’re looking at an excellent all around defensive lineman. The 2014 season’s pass rushing stats stand alone, however. Davis needs to prove that he is more than just a versatile pass rusher. He had 14 tackles last season and could work on being useful in running downs as well.

He may just get that opportunity in 2015 and while I’m excited for the guy, I have to admit that the enthusiasm is a tad tempered by his unproven track record. 2015 could turn out to be the start of an amazing track record and career, though, so I’ll hold out hope until we see what he puts on the field in 2015.

Next: Ryan Davis is One of the Best Multi-Gap Rushers

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