Over past month or so, we’ve been providing an in-depth scouting report for each of the Jets’ undrafted free agents. We finish up today with defensive lineman Domenique Davis.
The 24-year old Davis, who is listed at 6’3” and 315 pounds, played college football at UNC Pembroke. He registered 123 tackles, including 15 for loss and six sacks in his college career. Davis is the only rookie the Jets have brought in this year that hasn’t played college football at the FBS level.
Davis worked his way up to all-conference and all-region level at high school and eventually decided to play college football at Shaw. However, after a year there in which he didn’t play, he opted to transfer to UNC Pembroke, which was closer to home and featured a few of his high school teammates.
He made his debut for the Braves in 2017, recording 27 tackles and one sack, then stepped up his production in 2018 with 55 tackles and two sacks.
In 2019, with NFL teams having started to take an interest in him, Davis racked up a career-high three sacks and was credited with 41 tackles.
He didn’t attend the scouting combine and wasn’t invited to any major all-star games, but was regarded as a possible late round pick by some analysts. After going unselected, Davis signed a contract with the Jets as an undrafted free agent. He reportedly only had $650 in guarantees.
Let’s move onto some more in-depth analysis of what Davis brings to the table, based on in-depth research and film study.
Davis has developed into a big-bodied interior defender having been only 5’10” and 215 pounds as a high school sophomore. He grew four inches and packed on 30 pounds before his junior year.
While he didn’t carry out any official workouts during the pre-draft process, Davis displays explosiveness on film and is reportedly capable of running a 4.8 in the 40-yard dash.
While there are no official measurements available, he appears to have good length and massive hands.
Davis played as a 4-3 defensive tackle in college, with the occasional snap aligned across from the center or one of the tackles.
In high school, he started off as a center before moving to the defensive side of the ball where he primarily played as a 3-4 end with the occasional snap at the nose guard position.
In the trenches, Davis will battle hard and he also shows effort on plays like this where he runs a ball carrier down from behind to assist on the tackle.
Davis would generally rotate in and out of games, but still would usually play about two-thirds of the snaps. He will get fatigued at times though and won’t always have the energy to pursue out to the perimeter or chase plays down from the backside.
Davis’ primary role was taking on blocks or double teams at the point of attack and he had an ability to fight off his man to get in on stops.
He also had nine tackles for loss in his career so he showed an ability to burst into the backfield at times. He displays good get-off here.
He still has plenty to learn though, as he was controlled at the point of attack at times. On this play, he gets sealed to the inside by the right tackle’s down block.
As a sign of his development as a pass rusher, Davis had one sack in his first season, two in his second season and three in his third season.
On this play, Davis drives the guard back on the bull rush to work his way into the backfield for the sack.
He might not create a ton of pressure, but commands double teams and has the explosiveness to get into the backfield and to close and finish if he gets close to the quarterback.
Often when you review a prospect from a lower division, you’ll see them dominating because of a strength or speed advantage (or sometimes both), rather than with good technique.
However, Davis does show some initial signs of good technical play in terms of fighting off blocks, getting the offensive linemen’s hands off him and working leverage advantages. He keeps his pad level low to stand up his man for this shed and stuff.
He also seemed to use his hands well to control his blocker and will free up his outside hand so he can get in on tackles.
As a pass rusher, Davis will use his strength and explosiveness, but also has the foundations of some pass rush moves. He uses a jab step to get half a step here.
On this play, he gains a quick leverage advantage and fights off the block with an arm-over move. It looks like he would then have transitioned into a rip move, but the offensive lineman seemed to get poked in the eye.
Davis averaged over 40 tackles per season in his college career, which is good production for an interior lineman.
While a lot of these were just from bottling up runs up the middle, he can close and finish in space. It was rare to see him miss a tackle, but he did on this play.
He did not force any fumbles in college, although he did recover two.
Davis didn’t really drop into coverage with the Braves. He had one pass defensed in his college career, on a batted pass at the line last season.
One thing that’s noticeable about Davis’ film is that it’s rare he’s preoccupied with fighting off a block and allows the ball carrier to run right past him. He keeps his eyes up and, where possible, will buy himself extra time to read and react by extending his arms.
He has said that he recognizes the importance of film study and you’ll often see him adjusting his alignment before the snap in response to a look the offense gives them.
Off the field, Davis was academically ineligible at times earlier on in his career, but he worked hard in the class room and ended up improving his GPA to well over three and being named three times on the Dean’s List.
Davis didn’t play special teams with the Braves last year, but would probably be expected to play as a down lineman on the field goal block unit if he made an NFL roster.
Davis is a humble individual, who worked his way up the depth chart both at the college and high school levels. By the time it was his senior year, he was being relied upon for leadership, although he was more of a leader by example than a vocal leader. He was recognized as a team captain during the 2019 season.
He seems to bring a mature and focused approach to working on his conditioning, lifting, technique and film study.
Davis started 21 of 22 games in 2018 and 2019, missing just one appearance with a sprained foot.
He showed some toughness in 2019 by playing through a torn labrum which was surgically repaired after the season.
Davis has experience in both three and four-man fronts and in multiple roles. His combination of strength, size and athleticism make it difficult to predict whether the Jets will try to bulk him up into more of a space-stuffing nose or mold him into a more disruptive inside presence.
The jump in competition, coupled with the truncated offseason, make Davis the longest of long-shots to make an impact with the Jets in 2020. However, despite modest statistical production, he displayed enough dominance at a lower level that you’d expect the team would want to take a long look at him.
If he can make the practice squad and develop his technique over the next 12 months, he might have a chance to develop into a rotational contributor by 2021 just as a few players might be leaving.