New York Jets rookie linebacker Demario Davis has certainly turned some heads in a short amount of time.
The Jets’ 3rd-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Davis has impressed his coaches and his teammates alike in rookie mini-camp and OTAs alone.
Head coach Rex Ryan compared the 23-year-old to future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, from a leadership standpoint. Even out of a smaller program, Arkansas State University, Demario Davis is a born leader.
During mini-camp this spring, Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis was asked about who’s stood out so far, and he didn’t hesitate to name the rookie Davis.
“He’s vocal,” Revis said. “You don’t frown on that. You accept that. He still has a lot of things to learn. But just to have those leadership qualities, you can tell where he came from. You can tell he was a leader in college.”
Rex Ryan has loved what he’s seen so far from the linebacker, who is expected to play in sub-packages on defense as a rookie and also contribute on special teams.
“I have not been disappointed one bit,” Ryan said. “This is what you get. He’s the first guy on the practice field, the last guy to leave.”
Ryan borrowed a phrase from Bart Scott, describing the drive that Davis has shown.
“He’s bright-eyed, he can’t wait, can’t wait to get in the classroom, can’t wait to get on the field, be with his teammates,” he said. “I think that’s why you’re going to see this young man have a long career. There’s no doubt.”
A humble young man, Demario Davis downplayed the notion of stepping in as a rookie and being a leader in a locker room full of veterans.
“Leading is always about timing,” said Davis. “It’s not always about being vocal. It’s about giving an example. I always try to be an example for the other rookies, how I prepare on the field and how I carry myself off the field.”
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was also complimentary of the rookie, praising him for his maturity and work ethic.
“He’s mature beyond his years,” Pettine said. “You would never think that kid is a rookie. In the days that he’s off, he’s here in the facility studying. He’s constantly with [linebackers coach] Bob Sutton just mastering it.”
It certainly appears like he’s got a great foundation and a bright future ahead of him. The Jets think they got a steal in the third round, and it’s going to be exciting to see what Demario Davis can bring to the table.