2020 New York Jets Draft Profile: Ashtyn Davis

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The Jets addressed the wide receiving core and got another weapon for Sam Darnold in Denzel Mims during round two. Next up, they had to fix another problematic group – the secondary.

Last year, New York improved its defensive game against the air game, allowing just 236 yards per game. Nonetheless, it was still in the middle of the pack, and their depth situation wasn’t as satisfying as Joe Douglas wanted.

Damon Arnette, originally a shrinking stock of a good player, went to the Las Vegas Raiders. Other high-profile corners, such as Trevon Diggs and Jaylon Johnson, weren’t on the table. Virginia’s Bryce Hall, projected for the third round, would fall so much that Douglas and his staff would land him in the fifth round, four picks later.

That’s why the Jets decided to take a safety that fits the value of a third-round pick rather than reach for a corner or edge. This was California star defensive back Ashtyn Davis Back, but there’s a catch – he could be a perfect option at cornerback.

Collegiate Career (California)

Credits: USA Today

Davis was a starter for the Golden Bears for three of his last five years in Berkeley. Interestingly, he played as a cornerback from 2015 to 2017 before switching back to safety. Back in 2018, he ranked third in the Pac-12 in terms of intercepted throws with three. He has a total of seven interceptions during his collegiate career.

In order to get his star status, Davis had to take an interesting path. He was a part of the Track and Field program. This explains why he’s so fast and was used as a kick returned for the majority of 2017 and 2018. His speed could also help him at cornerback and as a deep safety in a Cover-3 zone defense.

What He Brings to the Team

From New York Jets: Day Two Draft Grades:

Grade: B

A great pick in terms of on-field performance and possibilities for utilization. In terms of filling in as many holes as possible. However, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Before the draft, in Jets Round-By-Round, the likeliest Jets fits at 68 or 79 were Bryce Hall, Damon Arnette, and Darnay Holmes. Arnette was not even close – he went to Las Vegas with the 19th overall pick. However, as we enter Round 4, both Hall and Holmes are available. The Jets’ earliest pick in the fourth round is 120, and they also have 125 and 129. Even if they elect not to draft either, they could use him as a corner every once in a while. As we’ve noted, his speed as a high safety allows him to do that, among other things.”

From Jets Mock Draft 1.0:

“Davis played five years in Berkley and showed off in his last two with the program. He’s a free safety with dynamic in-the-box skills, a good Blitzer, and tough to beat in pass coverage. Ashtyn Davis recorded six interceptions over the last two seasons in the Pac-12, including four in 2018. An All-American in track and field, his speed makes him a difficult matchup against even pacy receivers in a Cover-3 zone defensive scheme. With Gregg Williams running mostly formations similar to Cover-2 man or Cover-4 zone, he should be given a chance to thrive and dominate. Even as a second-choice safety behind Jamal Adams.

The Jets’ deal with former Rams safety Marqui Christian as a physical is currently not an option with team facilities closed. If Davis develops properly, he could cover well Christian’s strengths and even go beyond in pass coverage.”

From Jets Round-By-Round: Third Round:

“While Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are reliable enough as the safety duo, Davis is worth taking a look. His speed makes him a valuable asset on schemes similar to Cover 3 and defenses using both zone and man formations. He could be a great pro-level safety, but the Jets might not need him at the moment.”

BERKELEY, CA – NOVEMBER 24: Ashtyn Davis #27 of the California Golden Bears returns an interception for a touchdown against the Colorado Buffaloes at California Memorial Stadium on November 24, 2018 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Strengths and weaknesses

Strengths – Vertical speed, versatility

Weakness – Deep Range

How He Fits With the Jets

The Jets recently announced they’ll be picking up Jamal Adams’s fifth-year option to his rookie contract. The safety duo of him and Marcus Maye isn’t going anywhere.

Instead, Ashtyn Davis is more likely to become a part of the regular cornerback rotation and only be a depth chunk of the safety group. The Jets currently have Brian Poole, Pierre Desir, Blessuan Austin, Arthur Maulet, Bryce Hall, Nate Hairston, Quincy Wilson, and Kyron Brown, as well as undrafted rookies Lamar Jackson, Javelin Guidry, and Shyheim Carter.

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Teodor Tsenov is a writer in the NFL Department of Overtime Heroics. Teodor joined the media in March 2020, previously writing for Franchise Sports UK. Also a second-year International Sport Management student at The Hague University of Applied Sciences in Den Haag, the Netherlands. Originally from Sofia, Bulgaria.