Everyone will share the sentiment that New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis is underrated and doesn’t get the publicity you’d expect from a defender of his level. But it’s clear that, for Davis at least, where the ranking is will always be less important than having the chance to be ranked at all.
Since returning to the New York Jets that season, Davis would eventually find his way to the Saints and has gone on to help revitalize the defense and become one fo the most beloved figures of the franchise.
Since joining the Saints’ defense in 2018, he helped to take their overall defensive yards allowed ranking from 17th in 2017, to 14th in 2018, 11th in 2019 and all the way up to 4th last season.
Davis has been a proven leader for the New Orleans Saints, not only has he taken on that role clearly in pregame huddles. But he continues that responsibility on the field, affecting the game in several different areas.
Off-ball linebackers are usually known for their coverage skills, a piece of Davis’s arsenal without a doubt. He allowed the second fewest yards per catch among linebackers with more than 400 coverage snaps, surrendered the eight-lowest completion percentage, and the third fewest yards of that same group.
But part of what’s made Davis so impactful and such a special chess-piece in Dennis Allen’s defense has been his prowess in the pass rush game.
Even other defenders take notice of his ferocious blitzes, as illustrated by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White in the NFL Network special.
“ He just like, runs through people. And I ain’t even just talking about running backs. Like linemen. He’s trying to run through your face.”
According to Pro Football Focus’s pass rush productivity metric, the Saints star linebacker was the third-most efficient pass rusher from the second level in 2020 among all off-ball linebackers who rushed the quarterback more than 85 times.
Among those players, Davis also put up the second-most total pressures, tied for the most hits on the QB, and ranked top-five in sacks with four.
And those just the stats. The energy he provides on the field as a spark plug, particularly alongside Kwon Alexander for seven games, is invaluable.
“He don’t got no moves.” said Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders. “No, no moves. He’s going straight through you.”
As for his football IQ, often considered one of the best in the game. He makes the calls that help to get the players around him in position to make plays and maximize their capabilities as well.
Of course, you can’t mention Demario Davis’s name without giving him the well-deserved credit he’s due for community engagement and activism. The list of was he can impact a defense is long, but the Bart Starr award winner’s work within the communities he has touched can’t be matched.
The fact that Davis ranks 64th on this list may irk some Saints fans. But I’d be willing to bet just about anything that for a player whose career almost came to an end in 2016, the 2019 All-Pro linebacker is grateful to not only make the list, but that he got back on the field and found his way to an organization and community that celebrate him daily. List or not.
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