The Detroit Lions selected Jarrad Davis with their first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Prior to the start of rookie minicamp on Friday, head coach Jim Caldwell said he expects Davis to impact the Lions‘ defense immediately as a rookie.
“We expect him to be a factor for us,” Caldwell said Friday per the Detroit Free Press. “Smart guy. He’s got ability, can run, hit, etc. So I think he’ll help us quickly.”
Davis was considered one of the top linebackers in the 2017 draft class despite missing four games (including his final three) at Florida due to an ankle injury.
Caldwell’s comments shouldn’t be a surprise, though. The Lions‘ shaky linebacker corps last year left much to be desired, and in a video on the team’s official website, general manager Bob Quinn said Davis would start at middle linebacker this coming season.
“It’s like anything else,” Caldwell said. “You try to put them in the best spot possible that you think where they can fit. But nowadays, the way in which you have so much nickel in the ballgame, those guys are really flexible in terms of the position that they play.”
As noted by the Detroit Free Press, with Davis coming in to play middle linebacker, last season’s starter, Tahir Whitehead, will presumably shift to outside. However, Caldwell said the team still has plenty of time to shuffle around the depth chart.
“We’re not talking about depth charts or anything of that nature, who’s going to line up where and all that kind of stuff at this point until we get them all together,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of time yet. We’ll see what’s happening, but I would anticipate that he’s going to be a factor just like he has been for every other year since we’ve been here at least.”