When Washington’s rookie linebacker Jamin Davis straps up for Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers next month, he’ll do so carrying some high expectations. Not only does the Kentucky product bear the weight of being a first-round pick, but he also mans the very position that his two main coaches played back when they were still active in the NFL.
Head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio were both linebackers during their playing careers, with Rivera mostly sticking in the interior and Del Rio roaming all over the field. That’s put Davis in a position of higher scrutiny, where the watchful eyes of Rivera and Del Rio may catch a thing or two more than they would elsewhere on the field.
Not that Davis is taking anything but positives away from that added pressure.
“It’s actually a big benefit,” Davis told NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay at training camp Thursday. “Coming into a system like this and coming in with a coaching staff like this, it’s actually really helpful when you got your head coach, the D-coordinator pulling you from the side when you do individual drills and whatnot and just giving you little minor tips and stuff like that here and there that can help your game grow.
“So it’s really beneficial having a coaching staff like that that’s been in my shoes before and just knowing that I can do whatever I can to basically just follow in their footsteps and then eventually create my own path.”
Davis is expected to start at outside linebacker this season opposite Cole Holcomb. Boasting a defensive front that features former first-round picks Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne and Montez Sweat, Washington has the opportunity to take a leap forward and become one of the top defensive units in the NFL this year.
However, Davis is as integral a component as anyone. He led Kentucky with 102 tackles last season and will be counted on both in coverage and applying pressure up front. With two former Pro Bowl linebackers paying close attention, there are plenty of reasons for optimism about Davis heading into the season.