Demario Davis should have played more during his rookie year. It is not that he looked great in the limited looks he got. He did not. It is that the guy in front of him on the depth chart, Bart Scott, was such a liability that Davis probably could not have done much worse. Even had Davis struggled, just getting experience probably would have helped him going forward.
Davis is now slated to start as an inside linebacker in 2013 next to David Harris. He is something of a blank slate. Davis did not impress anybody as a rookie. Rex Ryan did him no favors, outlandishly comparing him to Ray Lewis shortly after the Jets drafted him and raising expectations to unreasonable heights. When he did get into the game, he struggled. The always insightful GGN member ___key noted a few weeks back that Davis missed a tackle every 9.3 attempts, an alarming rate. He allowed .9 yards per play in coverage. That is not awful, but it is not really great.
This offseason is going to be very important for Davis. He will have time to refine his game and get better. A lot of people were quite high on him when the Jets selected him, including Mel Kiper. He definitely will give the linebacking corps a needed infusion of speed. I think the Jets want him and Harris to compliment each other. Harris is stronger against the run. The idea seems to be to hope Davis uses his speed to develop into a good linebacker in coverage, somebody who can match up with tight ends. We will have to wait and see how this actually turns out.
Another pressing question is whether Davis can do what Bart Scott did against the run. Scott used to do the dirty work and sacrifice his body to eliminate blockers to leave easy tackles for others to clean up. It is no accident that Harris' and the rest of the team's play against the run went downhill when Scott steeply declined in 2011. We do not know how well Davis can handle this role. Additionally, Davis may be used as a rusher off the edge on passing downs.
Demario Davis' potential leaves more questions than answers. All we can say for sure is that he should be a starter in 2012 really because the Jets do not have another option.