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Akeem Davis-Gaither is a “new age” defender with emerging ball skills

The third-year linebacker is primed for a breakout season.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp The Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports

Akeem Davis-Gaither is making big plays in training camp after missing 13 games (including the playoffs) last season with a foot injury.

The 24-year-old linebacker is a “new age” defender but also the son of a coach, which means he knows how to play within his limits, said analyst John Sheeran. “He has a great natural feel for what he can do in space and reading the quarterback’s eyes,” Sheeran said on the #1 Bengals podcast.

And last year, we saw glimpses of what Davis-Gaither can do. “He was a growing part of that third-down defense, playing next to Logan Wilson, coming onto the field in place of Germaine Pratt, in those intermediate zones,” Sheeran said.

Davis-Gaither’s value was perhaps most felt when the Bengals shocked the NFL world by crushing the favorites for the AFC North, said Sheeran:

“He was a critical part of why they had success against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. He was on the field for most of the time against the Ravens when they went into three linebacker sets because he has the athleticism to get out to the edge and force Jackson to cut back to the other ten defenders.”

In encouraging news, Davis-Gaither is feeling good and making big plays in training camp, as evidenced by this pick-six of Brandon Allen:

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