One of the most renowned NFL draft analysts, Matt Miller, is loving Washington's first-round draft pick, former Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis at No. 19.
"If you wanna talk about the defensive rookie of the year, you want to get on some early odds for that, put your money on Jamin Davis with Washington," Miller said on ESPN's "Get Up."
"They have the best defensive line in football, he's just gonna stand back there and clean up," Miller said
Miller, the founder of thedraftscout.com, didn't rate Davis as high as Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain (drafted ninth to Denver) or Micah Parsons (who the Cowboys traded back for at No. 12), but it's about the surroundings that Davis is coming into. After such a dominant defensive season last year, Davis' athletic tackling ability helps add another cog in the vaunted machine.
Washington's new No. 52 stock skyrocketed after a senior season in which Davis got his chance to play middle linebacker, and made 102 tackles and caught three interceptions in 10 games with the Wildcats. Davis has been praised for his ability to lockdown tight ends in coverage, including some praise from his new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio on a previous matchup against top TE prospect, Kyle Pitts.
"We think he's a good linebacker period," Del Rio told the Washington Football Talk crew after Day 1 of the draft. "I think he's capable of doing all the different things that we ask our guys to do. He's capable of blitzing, he's capable of stuffing blocks and playing the run game, he's got the speed and athleticism we look for."
Having a linebacker that can add another positive dimension to an already feared defense is a scary thought. Miller's praise for Davis came in reaction to host Mike Greenberg's take that Washington should be considered the current favorites over the Cowboys to repeat as NFC East champions this season.
"If you look at the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two units I think Washington's offense is better than Dallas' defense, and I think Washington's defense is better than Dallas' offense. I've got the Washington Football Team running away with the NFC East," Greenberg said.
At 7-9 in 2020, coach Ron Rivera's team didn't run away with the division until a dismal Eagles effort in Week 17 helped the Burgundy and Gold clinch a spot in the playoffs. But after another year developing young players like 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young along with ferocious defensive pieces like Montez Sweat, Jon Bostic, and Jonathan Allen, Jack Del Rio's defensive talent could certainly outweigh any divisional offense. The Cowboys' hopes of reclaiming the division crown depends on if Dak Prescott can return to normal after suffering a broken ankle. Though fellow "Get Up" analyst David Pollack thinks the Cowboys have the potential to return to their high-caliber passing offense shown before Prescott's injury, he's skeptical that'll happen right away.
"Dak had a serious injury," Pollack said. "That wasn't some little bitty injury that you can just plug him and play right away. I think it's gonna take some time for him to get some footing underneath him. I don't think he'll scramble as much as he did in the past, but I'm all on board with you I got Washington winning the division."