Grading Commanders' last six first-round picks ahead of 2024 NFL Draft

It's been a mixed bag...
Jamin Davis
Jamin Davis / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
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Jamin Davis - Commanders LB

  • Linebacker | Kentucky Wildcats
  • No. 19 overall | 2021 NFL Draft

Ron Rivera didn't make many significant investments in the linebacking corps throughout his time as head coach. There was almost an ignorant reluctance to give the defensive second level the respect it deserved. It came as no surprise to see this become a constant weak link.

The Washington Commanders did spend a first-round pick on Jamin Davis in 2021. He's a physically imposing linebacker who hasn't quite put everything together as yet. The numbers have been decent - gaining 269 tackles and seven sacks in three seasons - but there remains some untapped potential that could be something more.

Rivera didn't know how best to utilize Davis' outstanding skill set. His deficiencies in coverage were exposed within Jack Del Rio's defensive scheme more often than not. Opportunities to rush the passer became extremely limited despite the former Kentucky star flashing real promise in this area.

While it's unlikely the Commanders will pick up Davis' fifth-year option this offseason, all hope is not lost. With Rivera gone, new head coach Dan Quinn is the sort of creative schematic implementor that can help the player reach new heights. Expect him to be used far more creatively, perhaps even in a role similar to how Micah Parsons is deployed on the Dallas Cowboys.

Grade: B

If Quinn can unlock the spark inside Davis, a career year for the player won't be too far behind. He's dynamic enough to become an impactful edge rusher who can also excel against the run from a more outside position. The Commanders also got themselves two dominant interior enforcers after signing Frankie Luvu and Bobby Wagner in free agency.

This should provide Davis with an added level of security to be instinctive. Quinn will give him the freedom to flourish, but the player must maximize the significant opportunity in front of him as he looks to cement his status with the franchise long-term.