Can rookie Jarrad Davis live up to the hype?
At this point it would be shocking if he didn’t. He was drafted in the first round specifically to take over at middle linebacker, the position that makes the defensive calls.
It’s a big responsibility for anyone, let alone a rookie.
And yet, coach Jim Caldwell and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin have not hemmed and hawed about where Davis will play. Caldwell usually takes a more wait-and-see approach with first-round rookies.
It’s different with Davis.
“He’s an unusual guy because of the fact that he works extremely hard. He’s smart. He works at it. He’s dedicated and he’s still got a lot to learn,’’ Caldwell said at training camp this week. “He’s only been in this thing a matter of a few months now, but just anticipate and expect to see him to continue to grow.’’
Davis, who played at Florida, is not cocky. When he was drafted he talked about how he took it upon himself to learn the characteristics of a good leader and then developed leadership skills with the Gators.
He’s not expecting to be given anything. He’ll work hard to deserve it, thank you. It hasn’t taken long for his teammates to figure him out.
“I think he gives respect, so they give it back and I think that’s an important trait as well,’’ Caldwell said.
Pro Bowl safety Glover Quin, who has a good view of Davis in practice, has become a fan.
“I like playing with him. He’s all football. He’s very serious. He takes his job very seriously. He wants to be great. You can see it by the way he asks questions, by the way he works and the way he studies,’’ Quin said.
“He’s going to be a great addition for us. Obviously, there are a lot of things you’ve got to learn. That’s to be expected. With his size, with his speed, with his instincts, with his physicality, he’ll be able to help us in the middle. I think he’ll make a lot of plays for us. I’m excited to play alongside him, watch him grow. I’m also excited to help him in any way I can,’’ Quin added.
Davis is going to make rookie mistakes, but from watching him in training camp, all indications are that he’s a play maker and he’ll be ready to go in September. That is exactly what the Lions’ defense needs.