Detroit Lions: Jarrad Davis signed, ready to bring defense new life

As the team’s rookie mini-camp opens, the Detroit Lions have agreed to a contract with their 2017 first-round pick, Jarrad Davis.

The Detroit Lions have officially signed their middle linebacker of the future, as former Florida standout Jarrad Davis has put pen to paper and agreed to a contract with the team that selected him 21st overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Davis will receive a four-year deal worth approximately $10.4 million, per Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press. The agreement will include the standard fifth-year team option that has become a staple of all first-round contracts under the current collective bargaining agreement. The two sides completed the process mere hours before the Lions’ rookie mini-camp was set to open.

Davis, the first linebacker the Lions have selected in the first round since they made Ernie Sims the ninth overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft, is a complete football player and figures to instantly step into a three-down role on this defense.

Along with second-round pick and fellow Florida alum Jalen “Teez” Tabor, Davis will be a key component of the stop unit’s re-invigoration. With his top-notch athleticism and sterling character, the 21-year old has the potential to emerge as a future star, a defensive captain, and a long-term impact player.

To be certain, he is the type of prospect that sophomore general manager Bob Quinn loves, and he he will provide an immediate boost to a linebacker group that struggled with both productivity and injuries in 2016. In his post-draft presser, Quinn made it abundantly clear just how glaring a need the team had at the position this offseason, per Carlos Monarrez of The Detroit Free Press:

“It’s a position that we had trouble with last year, keeping guys healthy first off,” Quinn said. “And it’s a position where I think you really need a guy in the middle of your defense that can be looked upon to call the defense, hopefully become a leader in time and really be that gel between the secondary and the defensive line. So it was a position of need for sure.”

Clearly, the team believes that Davis can be that player. With the Lions having moved on from longtime contributor DeAndre Levy back in March, the acquisition of Davis will push Tahir Whitehead outside, thus strengthening two linebacker slots and the defense as a whole, as the Lions try to take the next step forward in a competitive NFC North.

With the Green Bay Packers perennial favorites, the Minnesota Vikings an underrated contender, and the Chicago Bears potentially having found their quarterback of the future in Mitchell Trubisky, the North could be up for grabs in years to come, and the Lions are making the necessary adjustments to remain competitive.

Now that Davis is officially in the mix, the Lions are expected to work toward finalizing deals with all of their remaining draft picks in short order. With rookie minicamps officially underway and the ink still drying on a potential future Pro Bowler’s contract, it’s an exciting time for Lions fans everywhere.

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