Anyone who has been here for more than 18 months will know how much time I have for Demario Davis. I loved him at Arkansas State and desperately wanted the Jets to land him, fortunately they did and they may be about to reap the rewards of that 3rd round selection.
Davis was thrust into the starting line-up in 2013 after just one year of limited experience. Remember Davis didn't come from Alabama, he came from Arkansas State, so he was raw in year one. He made a jump last year but not a leap, rated as one of the poorer ILB in the league, Davis just about justified his inclusion in the starting line-up with 107 tackles and 1 sack.
However anyone who actually watched him at Arkansas State will know he has a lot more to offer. He didn't stand out either of his first two pre-seasons, but this time around, he's starting to catch the eye:
No question today. Demario Davis was the player of the day in practice. #nyj— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) July 30, 2014
Rex said Demario is "definitely the last player off the field." Said Davis demands a lot of himself and is doing the same w his teammates— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) July 30, 2014
Jets LB Demario Davis having an outstanding practice today. One pick-six. Nearly picked off another Geno Smith pass. #nyj— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) July 30, 2014
But Demario answers with a PD on a Geno pass to Cumby. 56 close to a pick. What a day.— Eric Allen (@eallenjets) July 30, 2014
Now I'm not getting carried away, a good first week of practise doesn't equate to a pro-bowl season. However last year I thought Davis showed a lot of ability to work through traffic to the ball carrier, this year he seems to be progressing as a pass defender, which will compliment Harris perfectly in the middle. His work ethic has never been questioned and his desire and leadership reminded Rex of Ray Lewis.
Now when you put all that together, 'Natural Talent + Work Ethic + Desire + Commitment, it usually equals a great player'. Now I'm not wavering on my opinion of three years ago that Demario will become a great player, in fact I'm willing to bet that he becomes a very good player this year and then takes the next step in 2015. It's very encouraging to see him performing to such a high standard early in camp. Let's hope it continues.
If you want a reason to truly love this guy, all you need to do is read this quote he gave to ESPN this week:
"... What it seems like is that, it seems like too many people are saying we can be the best defense or we are the best defense, but the work has to show it," he said. "You know, as far as me seeing it, have we been putting in the work to be the best defense? I would say no. In the first couple weeks, we've got to work a lot harder. Guys have to put more individual time in, you've got to watch a lot more film, you've got to stay on the field a lot longer, you've got to come out a lot earlier.
"It's not just what is mandatory," Davis continued. "If you want to be the best you've got to do more. Being the best doesn't just happen. So I've seen a lot of people saying that. I've said it myself, but personally, I don't feel like we're putting in the work right now to be the best. We have a long way to go and right now we're not on pace to be the best. We've got to start fast this year. We can't afford to try to catch fire late in the season. We've got to start fast."