Washington filled an immediate need at linebacker by taking Kentucky’s Jamin Davis with the 19th pick, who could be the next standout at the position drafted by Ron Rivera.
Davis wasn’t even a starter going into his junior season and made 102 tackles in 10 games. He opted out of Kentucky’s bowl game and made a somewhat surprising decision to turn pro.
“It’s a surreal feeling, but it’s not weird to me,” Davis said of his quick ascent up the depth chart to an NFL first-round pick. “I’m just ready to show the world who I am.”
Washington hopes Davis follows in the footsteps of previous linebackers selected by Rivera, a retired linebacker in his own right. Carolina took Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson in the first round during Rivera’s time there.
Linebacker, offensive tackle and tight end were among the most pressing needs coach Ron Rivera’s team needed to fill. Starting linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis left in free agency.
Davis was the pick for Washington over Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw.
Washington resisted the temptation to trade up for one of the top five quarterbacks. It cost Chicago a 2022 first-round pick to move up several spots for Ohio State’s Justin Fields, a price Washington wasn’t willing to pay.
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