Ryan Davis is Adapting Well to LEO Position


Rayn Davis was a pleasant surprise for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. One of the most productive pass rushers (per snap) in the NFL from both the inside and outside, Davis helped contribute to the impressive sack numbers the Jags posted in 2014. He was also an exception in that he generated consistent pressure as well, which was a problem for the Jaguars despite the pretty sack numbers.

In fact, Davis was the second most productive pass rusher from the defensive tackle position (among DTs with at least 25% of snaps) according to Pro Football Focus. PFF had him ranked 24th (among all 4-3 defensive ends) at pass rush productivity. Davis did enough in 2014 to justify getting more playing time in 2015.

Now, can he capitalize on it?

With the injury to 2015 third overall selection Dante Fowler Jr. that knocked him out of the season, Davis will be expected to step up at the LEO position. As a dedicated edge rusher, Davis will have to prove that he can as productive as he hinted he could be last year. His 66 pass rush snaps – as measured by PFF –  from last season should increase dramatically in his new dedicated role. We’ve questioned whether he can sustain that kind of productivity before and we’re optimistic for the future. At worst, he’s shown he deserves the opportunity to sink or swim.

Here at B&T, we love Ryan Davis. It isn’t just us, though. Defensive coordinator Bob Babich has been singing Davis’ praises this offseason noting that “we didn’t have a spot for him [when the coaching staff arrived in 2013], but Ryan has created his own niche within the defense.” Credit needs to be given to Davis for proving himself valuable as an all-arounder for the Jaguars. Now, he’ll have to prove he can become a specialist.

"Regardless of how the situation went down with [Fowler] and [Clemons] not being here, that’s just me as a professional. I just try to get better at it every day but that’s my position so I want to get better at it – Jacksonville Jaguars Defensive Lineman Ryan Davis"

Davis is working on getting to get better as a whole professional. Making sure he can do what is asked of him will be key as the Jaguars balance injuries along the defensive line and work on finding that perfect rotation to increase pressures in 2015. He played the LEO at times last season, so it shouldn’t be a completely new position for him. He will get increased reps with Fowler’s injury and Chris Clemons sitting out OTAs. That extra practice could help him translate well at the start of the season and he could prove himself invaluable with more playing time.

Next: Can Ryan Davis Improve With More Playing Time?

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