It happens all the time. In seemingly every NFL draft, some team inevitably falls for the workout warrior, the combine hero, and reaches for that player. This year, the player who showed up and showed out at the combine was Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis. The team that could fall in love with Davis’ workout numbers and draft him higher than he deserves — at least according to NFL Network draft guru Daniel Jeremiah — is the Minnesota Vikings.
Georgia’s Jordan Davis crushed the NFL Draft Combine in 2022
Jordan Davis is a mountain of a man. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native dominated the defensive line for the Georgia Bulldogs for four seasons, racking up 91 tackles, 12.5 for a loss, and 7.0 sacks in 47 games between the hedges, per GeorgiaDogs.com.
More importantly, he clogged up the middle and stifled opponents’ running attacks for one of the best defenses in college football. This defense, which included fellow first-round NFL draft prospects like Travon Walker, Devonte Wyatt, and Nakobe Dean, led Georgia to its first national championship since 1980.
As a run-stuffing nose tackle at the pro level, Davis came into the combine as a late first-rounder. That changed once he worked out, though.
Davis measured 6-foot-6 and weighed in at 342 pounds. Then, in a performance that ESPN draft expert Todd McShay said went on his “Mt. Rushmore of the combine,” Davis’ stock exploded upward.
The DL ran a 4.78 40-yard dash. That was faster than half the quarterbacks who ran at the combine and several tight ends and linebackers. His 10-feet, 3-inch broad jump set a record in the event for players over 300 pounds, and his 32-inch vertical was second among DTs.
It was a marvelous performance that shows what an incredible athlete Davis is. However, it was all done in shorts and a t-shirt, not in a real football game.
Daniel Jeremiah has the Minnesota Vikings taking Davis No. 12 overall
Prior to the incredible combine performance, the idea was that Jordan Davis would be an elite run-stuffing nose tackle in a 3-4 defense but wouldn’t be able to stay on the field for passing downs.
The type of unique athleticism he showed at the combine now has some teams thinking that Davis has untapped pass-rush ability to beat guards and centers and chase QBs in the pocket. He also may have more scheme versatility, where he could play in a four-man front and sub-packages.
The only problem with this is that he’s never shown it on the field.
After seeing Davis’ numbers, that won’t matter for some teams. An organization will fall in love with the potential of the large lineman and take him higher than where he probably should go.
According to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah in his latest mock draft, that team could be the Minnesota Vikings at No. 12. Jeremiah explains this pick by writing, “Davis is a dominant run defender with plenty of untapped potential as a pass rusher. (You saw what the 6-foot-6, 341-pounder did at the NFL Scouting Combine, right?).”
Even if this is true, it wouldn’t be a smart pick for the Vikings specifically. And not just because it’s too high for a player who may only ever be a (good) 25-play-per-game run-stopper.
Why the Vikings shouldn’t take the Georgia run-stuffer
The Minnesota Vikings have several holes to fill on defense, and a hybrid, defensive tackle type would be a good pick at some point.
With Danielle Hunter, D.J. Wonnum, and now Za’Darius Smith on the outside, the team could use a run-stopper who can also rush further out along the line on passing downs. A player like that would allow the team’s pass-rushing specialists to rest on run downs.
He’d also give new Vikings defensive coordinator Ed Donatell — who’s run multiple fronts in the past — a nice three-man rotation at DT with Dalvin Tomlinson and newly-signed free agent Harrison Phillips.
The problem is, another DT would be nice to have, but it isn’t the most pressing issue for the Vikings on D. Cornerback is.
At No. 12, the Vikings will likely miss out on Cincinnati CB Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner but should be in on one or both of the next two best cover men in the draft, LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. and Washington’s Trent McDuffie.
If either of those players is there at No. 12, the Vikings need to take one of them. Selecting a luxury like Jordan Davis — who may not even be that much of a luxury once the pads go back on — would be a mistake by new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell.