As we near the top 10 of our rankings of the New York Jets’ 25 best players, we reach the real stars of the team. These are the players who the Jets have built around and who must play at a high level for the team to succeed. Demario Davis is probably the least well known name of this group, but the third year linebacker is completely deserving of his high ranking, and the Jets believe he has a very bright future.
Davis took over one of the full time starting inside linebacker jobs last season, recording 107 tackles, 1 interception and 1 sack. Davis’ speed proved to be a nice complement to David Harris, and the pair formed a very effective run stopping tandem at inside linebacker. According to Football Outsiders, the Jets’ led the NFL in second level yards allowed, and Davis had a major part to play in that success.
Davis also has been able to give the Jets a coverage option at linebacker in his two years with the team. He spent much of his rookie season playing in passing situations as a reserve, and he hardly ever came off the field for the Jets last season. Davis has the ability to cover tight ends man to man, something that is very useful to Rex Ryan when he wants to call one of his exotic blitzes.
Harris has only one year left on his contract, and it remains to be seen if he will be back in New York. That means the Jets are counting on Davis to take over as the star linebacker and leading tackler, and they expect him to continue to improve in his third season. The Jets have five starters in their front seven aged 25 or younger, and those players hold the key to their future defensively. Davis should continue to make progress this season, and he could be a breakout star for the Jets in 2014.
Previously: No. 25 Bilal Powell, No. 24 Kenrick Ellis, No. 23 Geno Smith, No. 22 Dawan Landry, No. 21 Jeff Cumberland, No. 20 Antonio Allen, No. 19 Quinton Coples, No. 18 Calvin Pryor, No. 17 Michael Vick, No. 16 Willie Colon, No. 15 Dee Milliner, No. 14 Calvin Pace, No. 13 Breno Giacomini, No. 12 Nick Folk