Could Davis have similar injury issues to other Alabama players?
Summary: Alabama has been a factory for defensive line talent under Nick Saban. Marcell Dareus, Jonathan Allen, Da'Ron Payne, Quinnen Williams and Jarran Reed were all early-round picks this decade, and Davis will keep that tradition going in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Davis had only four tackles and a sack as a freshman in backup duty. Thus, many didn't see Davis' breakout 2017 campaign as the replacement for Allen. Davis formed a lethal interior with Payne and was Alabama's most consistent pass rusher. The sophomore totaled 8.5 sacks, 10 tackles for a loss, 69 tackles and one interception. He came up with some big performances in the playoff games to help Alabama win another National Championship.
In 2018, Davis totaled 55 tackles with 5.5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks. Williams became the Crimson Tide's feature pass-rusher up front, and they did not let Davis pin his ears back to go after the quarterback as much as they did in 2017.
As a senior, Davis had 47 tackles with .5 sacks in 2019 and missed some time with a sprained ankle. He was a tremendous run defender for Alabama, but did not contribute much in the pass rush. Davis was also limited in the offseason, and that yields questions about his health. The Crimson Tide are known in the scouting community for working their players extremely hard, so a number of them entered the NFL banged up.
Davis is a tough defender in the ground game. He is very stout at the point of attack. When runs come downhill at him, he is able to anchor and hold his ground. He also shows the strength to shed and tackle. Davis bulls his way into the backfield to blow up runs and resets the line of scrimmage. His lateral anchor is truly excellent for a college player, making him seemingly immovable at the point of attack. Davis is exceptionally strong to take on double-team bump blocks and hold his ground when getting hit from the side. His put-together body combined with his speed and athleticism make him almost impossible to move out of his gap or keep quiet in run defense. Davis is an excellent run defender for the NFL.
Davis showed serious pass-rushing skills in 2017, but that was abnormal considering what he did over the next two seasons. He has some ability to get a push into the backfield with his power, but after gaining some ground upfield, he struggles to finish the play by getting to the quarterback. Davis is limited from speed and athleticism perspectives to be a dangerous pass-rusher in the NFL. As a pro, he probably will be rotated out of the game in the majority of sub-package plays. If Davis had more pass-rush ability, he would have been a first-round pick.
For the NFL, Davis fits any defense. He would be a great fit as a nose tackle or five-technique in a 3-4. In a 4-3, he could play nose tackle. In the 2020 NFL Draft, Davis could be a second- or third-round pick.
Player Comparison: Leonard Williams. Davis and Williams (6-5, 302) are similarly sizeed while being tough defenders at the point of attack. They are tough against the run but don't produce a lot in the pass rush. Williams is quicker and more athletic than Davis, while Davis is stronger and tougher than Williams. I could see Davis being similar to Williams in the NFL, where he will be solid at the point of attack and might have one or two decent seasons for sack production.