The Baltimore Ravens made the somewhat shocking call to trade Timmy Jernigan, and now Carl Davis will be thrust into the spotlight.
Seeing a player as talented as Timmy Jernigan walk away is difficult, sure. However, trading him was a sensible move for the Baltimore Ravens. Not only were they able to move up to early in the third round from a compensatory pick, but they also did so by sending out a player at a position where they have a ton of talent and depth. Thus, it’s a move that doesn’t require much of a defense.
However, it does require players to step up to fill the hole left by Jernigan’s departure. Jernigan wasn’t a superstar last season, but he’s been a stalwart over his three years with the Ravens. He’s a plus-player without question and one that leaves at least relatively sizable shoes to fill. Subsequently, Carl Davis will be feeling the pressure a bit in Baltimore in the 2017 season.
Selected with the 90th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Davis saw the field right away as a rookie. He started three games and played in 13 in his first year. Though his stats were forgettable, he showed some flashes. Unfortunately for him, an ankle injury in Baltimore’s final preseason game in 2016 derailed his sophomore effort. Davis ultimately didn’t play in a single game this past season.
But now he’s going to be called upon to play a large role in the Ravens defensive front. He’s going to be expected to be an every-down player capable of clogging up the middle.
During his time with the Ravens, Jernigan wasn’t much of a pass rusher by any stretch. The bulk of his effectiveness came in regards to clogging up opposing rushing attacks. Davis can bring the same type of thing to the table immediately. However, if Davis is able to progress, he could in fact be more of an overall asset than Jernigan because of the pass-rush.
Looking back at his NFL.com Draft Profile, one of the biggest knocks on Davis was his lack of production while at Iowa. That’s why he was available at the end of the third round when he had the measurables and physical tools to possibly even be a Day 1 selection. Those physical tools, though, remain in place and fall into the ever elusive category of potential. Davis has the potential to be a complete defensive lineman, but he has to realize it.
In that same profile prior to the draft, his play was described as “lazy and fatigued” at times. Those are two things that Davis cannot be in the 2017 season, or at least that the Ravens can’t afford him to be. This is a team that has serious work to do with their offense, as evidenced last season and made worse by the departure of Steve Smith Sr. However, they still flirted with a playoff berth because of the strength of their defense.
Subsequently, that puts a great deal of pressure on Davis to make sure the defense doesn’t drop off because of the loss of Jernigan. He must buy into the established culture of the Ravens of being a relentless defense. Maximum effort is mandatory and the team needs him to be fully committed to rising to the occasion as he’ll be called upon.
Through the 2017 draft, the Ravens are surely going to look to improve their offense. But chances are that this will still be a team whose success is predicated on their defense. As such, their success largely hinges on the play of Davis in 2017. The talent and tools are there for the third-year player, but now he needs to answer the call.