Raekwon Davis had quite the college career. Originally committed to Mississippi State, he ultimately ended up joining the Alabama Crimson Tide, where he would become a focal point of their defense.
Davis served in a reserve role as a freshman, appearing in just four games. However, as a sophomore, he was a breakout star, totaling 69 tackles, including 10 for loss and 8.5 sacks en route to an Alabama National Championship, and All-SEC honors. Davis seemed well on his way to potentially becoming a top 10 pick, but little did he realize that his college career had just peaked.
Despite being labeled a potential star by many, Davis was not quite as effective as a Junior, posting just 55 tackles, 5.5 for loss, and 1.5 sacks in 2018. Due to the underwhelming season and the plethora of defensive lineman who headed for the NFL Draft, Raekwon stayed for his senior year to boost his stock and earn his degree. Unfortunately, Alabama’s defense was not in the same stratosphere as in the past, and Davis was equally as ineffective. His production regressed once again, posting just 47 tackles, 3 for loss, and .5 sacks. While he was still named second-team All-SEC, the former projected top pick is now staring down the barrel of being a potential day two selection.
Obviously, this regression is not very encouraging, regardless of Davis’ usage. However, he still has the tools to succeed in the NFL; he just may not be the superstar that many once thought he would become. Davis would be a quality body to pair with Grady Jarrett on the interior defensive line, possessing ungodly size at 6’7″, 305 pounds. He has all the physical tools such as strength and quickness that you could ask for in a lineman, and his ridiculous length offers him a large tackling radius, while his sheer size allows him to plug gaps against opposing offenses.
Davis has shown potential as an interior rusher but has been inconsistent throughout his career. He will surely have to develop his pass-rushing moves a bit and stop relying on his physical traits at the next level. Davis will also have to work on his hand technique. This seems like coachable stuff; my only worry here is that if Nick Saban could not help him develop, can Dan Quinn? With that being said, if he finds the right landing spot, I could also see his best football being ahead of him. His snap anticipation is not great. He can collapse a pocket, that is for sure, but has not been able to get to the quarterback the last two seasons.
There are also off-the-field concerns that could hurt Davis’ draft stock. As a sophomore, he was shot outside a Tuscaloosa bar. He received a suspension for throwing punches at a Missouri player during a game. Many have questioned his maturity.
At the very least, I believe Davis can be a starter in the NFL due to his run-stuffing ability, but it will be on him to use his tools to develop as a playmaker if he wants to be a special player at the next level and live up to his potential.
Davis is likely a better fit in a 3-4 scheme, but he has enough upside to warrant a selection by Atlanta in the 3rd or 4th round if he falls due to the need for more quality bodies upfront. However, the Falcons have to add pass rushers, and Davis may be more of a run-stuffer in the NFL.