2018 NFL Draft Profile: Utah State CB Jalen Davis
Former Utah State cornerback Jalen Davis is gearing up for the 2018 NFL Draft.
Here are the strengths and weaknesses for USU’s 2nd-team All-American CB as he preps for the NFL Draft.
Time to put down your team’s last-minute draft board update and watch the 2018 NFL Draft (finally!) unfold. In the next few days, Utah State’s star cornerback Jalen Davis will likely find his way onto a roster and aim to launch a career in the pros. His success or failure will be largely determined by a number of NFL-ready strengths displayed over a solid four-year career with the Aggies, and the limitations of his size against the best receivers the league has to offer.
Davis is a compact athlete with a knack for identifying plays as they develop, and a burst of speed powerful enough to capitalize on it. Davis notched 11 interceptions over four seasons as an Aggie, including five his senior year (three of which he converted to touchdowns). Davis’ best bet in the NFL will be to stick on slot receivers, as he so often did at Utah State. He also occasionally sports the ability to generate surprising pressure on quarterbacks, managing four sacks in 2017 on those rare Utah State corner blitzes.
Davis has great hands and a habit of tracking the ball better even than some receivers he found himself matched up against this year. His three-interception game against BYU was a masterpiece, and his weakest performance may have been allowing 80 yards to fellow-NFL hopeful WR Michael Gallup in a loss to Colorado State — still not too shabby. So why doesn’t anyone seem to be talking about him?
Well, because he’s about two inches shorter and 15 pounds lighter than most NFL coaches would prefer. Davis is a speed demon, but can only do so much as a 5’10”, 185-pound defender in the slot when a tight end or receiver with size creates a mismatch. Davis can do enough things to make himself valuable on special teams, perhaps even as a return man, but teams are likely to wait on selecting Davis until guys who fit the prototypical defensive back mold are off the board.
While some enterprising team in need of cornerback depth could certainly reach for Davis a round early, he seems more likely to go somewhere in the fifth to a team looking for that special teams versatility rather than a starting nickel corner. Expect a team like Washington, Arizona or Seattle to fill a depth spot in their respective secondary by picking Davis in the 142-156 range. Official prediction? The Cardinals snag him with pick 152, where he makes the 53-man roster as an impact player on the return unit.