New York Jets: Demario Davis Has Taken Torch (and Then Some) At Linebacker 1
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 02: Inside linebacker Demario Davis #56 of the New York Jets runs the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on November 2, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The New York Jets let a player go and brought him back in Demario Davis. Now he’s better than he ever was. ESNY breaks it down.

The New York Jets are 4-5 and very much in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC conference. A lot of that praise can and should be thrown at Demario Davis.

After a one-year vacation in Cleveland, Double-D has fixed the errors in his game to make him a complete player.

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Originally when Davis was drafted under the Rex Ryan regime, he was heralded as a “Ray Lewis” type of leader leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft.

“Wow. … This is amazing. He reminds me of Ray (Lewis),” Ryan said, according to The Star-Ledger’s Jenny Vrentas, after meeting with Davis and general manager Mike Tannenbaum at the Jets‘ team facility.

That wasn’t the first time Rex Ryan stuck a foot in his mouth.

But seriously.

Davis ended up being taken in the third round by the Jets. He was heralded for his speed and coverage abilities coming out of Arkansas. In his four-year career with the green and white, he was a very solid starter.

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He posted high tackle totals and padded the stats with some sacks. But overall the main critique was his amazing coverage skills from college never translated to the pros.

He was constantly exposed on wheel routes from running backs and tight ends had their way with Davis as well. So when his rookie contract ran out, the Jets let him walk in free agency.

Davis had a one-year stop in Cleveland. Then this past offseason the Jets were trying to figure out what they were going to do with former first-rounder Calvin Pryor, a hard-hitting safety who had an off rookie year before seemingly putting it together in that magical 2015 year.

The real issues weren’t just on the field, they were off the field. A player who had maturity and locker room issues couldn’t gel with teammates. But the Jets had enough and with their first two draft selections went back-to-back with safety picks. That was the first time in franchise history.

While head coach Todd Bowles said all the right things in terms of making it work with three safeties, we all knew that the end was near. So fast forward a few months and a trade that usually would get thrown under the radar did.

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TRADE!

The one-year stay in Cleveland was apparently a one-year sabbatical for Davis. He rediscovered himself as an NFL player and has now developed into the team MVP for this season.

While he’s on pace for a career-high in tackles, sacks, and has been the face of the defense, much was made with the way the David Harris situation was handled. Who would take the torch at linebacker?

People hoped it would be former first rounder, Darron Lee. But after just a short time in the league, the ‘bust’ word was starting to get thrown around. His future was very much in jeopardy.

To be honest, this trade didn’t just save the career of Demario Davis, but likely, Lee’s as well.

With Davis manning the defense, Lee didn’t have the pressure of being THE guy. With the drop in expectations, he’s been a huge contributor to this defense.

Same story. Lee is on pace for a career-high in tackles, sacks, and has been making plays this season instead of giving them up.

With the defensive line stepping up in recent games for the Jets, the linebacker’s job is getting even easier to penetrate the lanes and make plays in the backfield. While just 28 years old, Davis is in his prime and the Jets now have the luxury of talent at linebacker for now and the foreseeable future.

 NEXT: NFL Coach of the Year Campaign for New York Jets HC Todd Bowles 


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Paul A. Esden, Jr.

People call me Boy Green for my unwavering dedication to all things New York Jets. I work at The Score 1260 in Syracuse and I’m extremely passionate about sports. I aspire to continue my rise through the business and hopefully I’ll end up working for the New York Jets in some capacity.