Many in the draft community thought Akeem Davis-Gaither was bound to be an early day two pick until a stress fracture in his foot threw a wrench in his pre-draft process. Now he could be a steal for the team that is willing to take a chance on him. Could that be the Bengals? Let’s see how he would fit.
Pros: Davis-Gaither is a versatile linebacker who plays mainly on the edge, but is frequently split out over a slot receiver. He has shown the skills to play in the box, but was primarily used outside.
As for movement skills, he’s got those in spades; demonstrating good speed, agility, and quickness. He shows excellent effort and makes plays all over the field. Davis-Gaither is an excellent tackler, who uses good technique and is highly aggressive. He looks good in coverage, reading the quarterback and making quick breaks.
Cons: Davis-Gaither has a tendency to run around blocks and struggles to disengage when a lineman gets his hands on him.
He can use his speed to rush the passer, but he is not truly a pass rusher. He lacks the technique and strength to consistently pressure the quarterback. Davis-Gaither often wins by shooting inside of an oversetting offensive lineman, which unfortunately creates an escape route for a mobile quarterback.
Red Flags: Played with a stress fracture in his foot in 2019, that required surgery after the season.
NFL Comp: Shaquem Griffin
Bengals Fit: He has the skill set to play inside linebacker, but could also be used as an off-the-ball outside linebacker in base defense and change-up pass rusher.
Draftability: Davis-Gaither’s stock was rising steadily and was expected see a massive spike after testing at the NFL Combine. Unfortunately, his foot injury prevented him from working out at the combine. As a result, he may make him slip and be a potential steal on day three.
Summary: Davis-Gaither was essentially an edge in Boone, but projects better off the line of scrimmage in the role of a rocked down safety. He has limited experience in the box, but has demonstrated many of the required skills as an off-the-ball linebacker playing outside of the box.