I can tell you’re already angry reading the headline.
The linebacker position isn’t considered a pressing need in this year’s draft. The Green Bay Packers have 10 picks to use, and a cornerback, offensive lineman, defensive end, and wide receiver should probably come before that.
The rebuttal to that reasoning? Rashan Gary. Two years ago Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst signed Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith to huge free-agency contracts. They would be the outside linebackers for the foreseeable future. Less than two months later, Gary was drafted with the No. 12 pick. People were baffled and angry, especially since the team had just signed two big names.
Cut to two years later: Gary is now an absolute beast. He got to learn from the Smiths, improve his workout routine and playing style and has emerged as a starting linebacker. No one is complaining about the pick now.
The same thing is possible for this year’s draft. The Packers are favorites to select linebacker Zaven Collins from Tulsa in the first round. There’s a good chance this doesn’t happen. In the second round, if Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis drops to Green Bay or they trade up, they would be foolish not to draft him.
Jamin Davis Profile
Davis was born in Hawaii but grew up in Georgia. He had just turned 22 when he declared for the draft after his junior year at Kentucky. Over three years and 36 games, Jamin had 144 tackles, two-and-a-half sacks, five interceptions, five tackles for loss, one block, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. He led the team in tackles and was second in interceptions with three.
Davis only played 10 games last year, but it was by far his best year. He had 102 of his 144 tackles in his last season alone. Before his pro day, the former Wildcat was expected to be a third-round pick. Plenty of potential, but an uncertain ceiling.
Then came his pro day. Davis is 6’3 and 234 lbs, but he looks like he was built in a gym. He ran a 4.477 and then a 4.37 40-yard dash. His vertical was 42″. If you want to compare, predicted first-rounder and wide receiver Rondale Moore had a 42.5″ vertical. He also had a 132″ broad jump. His pro day had every team taking notice.
What Are The Chances The Packers Get Him?
Originally expected to go in the third round, Davis’ draft stock has gone up faster than GameStop’s. He is now expected to drafted around pick 40, which would be the top of the second round. He is listed as the fourth linebacker to go, right behind Zaven Collins.
The latest Mock Draft on CBS Sports? They have Davis going 17th overall to the Las Vegas Raiders. Sports Illustrated has him going to the Miami Dolphins with pick 36. Fox Sports has the Cleveland Browns taking Davis at pick 26.
So where does that leave the Packers? It will really depend on Draft Day. That’s an obvious statement, but someone like Davis could drop to them in the second round, or could be taken 11 spots before them in the first.
Almost every draft expert has Green Bay picking a linebacker, whether it be Davis, Collins, Nick Bolton from Missouri, or even Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah from Notre Dame if he drops to 29. That said, when you have everyone saying one position is the likely outcome, it usually means that won’t happen at all. Just look at last year’s first-round pick.
The Packers selecting a cornerback or wide receiver seems most likely. Linebacker is a possibility, but I have a feeling they will use some of their picks to trade up and take one of these impact linebackers early in the second when a few of them drop.
As we saw in 2019, you can never have enough decent linebackers. Green Bay still has a middle linebacker group with a lot to prove. This is a deep draft, especially for positions of need for the Packers. Just don’t be surprised when you hear Jamin Davis’ name called by the Packers come draft weekend.