The views and opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the opinion of the team.
Ron Rivera hit a proverbial home run with his first draft pick as the head coach of the Washington Football Team.
Chase Young, selected second overall, exceeded expectations by making the Pro Bowl, earning Defensive Player of the Month in December and becoming the franchise's first Defensive Rookie of the Year. His game-changing plays, combined with his "crazy unusual" leadership, immediately made him one of the faces of a team on the rise.
Rivera's second swing will be with the No. 19 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he'll have a pair of new executives -- general manager Martin Mayhew and executive vice president of football/player personnel Marty Hurney -- helping him make that decision. They'll aim to add another valuable piece to help build a consistent winner.
In anticipation for that selection, which will be made April 29, Washingtonfootball.com will highlight one mock draft from a notable draft expert each week and delve into how that player would fit with Washington. Here are the analysts who have been highlighted over the past month:
With the draft kicking off Thursday, we finish this series with a joint mock draft between ESPN NFL Draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay.
Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Adding a high-level linebacker to play behind Washington's already-dominant defensive front would result in serious problems for opposing NFL offenses, and according to ESPN, there's a 96.6% chance Jamin Davis will be available when the team is on the clock.
"Washington has a great front four, but it could upgrade at middle linebacker," Kiper wrote in the joint mock draft April 20. "Davis has elite tape from the 2020 season, and he has some coverage ability, too."
A complete unknown in NFL circles a year ago, Davis could not be ignored as a redshirt junior this past season. The first-year starter led Kentucky with 102 tackles to go with four tackles for loss, three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), two pass breakups, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
But it was his physical traits that grabbed scouts' attention. At 6-foot-3 and 234 pounds, he has the size to be stout near the line of scrimmage. Then he ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, showcasing the speed he will use to stay with pass-catchers and run down ball-carriers.
Combine those with his other measurables -- 40-inch vertical jump, 11-foot broad jump and 21 bench press reps of 225 pounds -- and it's no surprise Pro Football Focus tabbed Davis as the most athletic linebacker in the draft. Kiper went a step further, proclaiming him as the potential best off-ball linebacker in his top 25 prospects story. (Davis ranked 14th.)
Despite making just 11 career starts, Davis has shown the intelligence, vision and ball-hawking ability to have success for whichever team ends up drafting him. And while he needs to make some improvements as a tackler and work on getting off blocks, time and instruction will help both areas, especially if he's learning under a pair of former NFL linebackers in Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
Last April, Davis was a key reserve fighting for more playing time. This April, he's preparing to hear his name called on Day 1 of the NFL Draft. Next April? Well, maybe he'll have settled into a Washington defense that went from excellent to elite.
"The fact that he can cover," Kiper said in his ESPN draft preview call on April 15. "He has great range. He tested out very well. He's very instinctive. He's a really nice player."