From two-sport walk-on to third-round pick to an NFL training camp, Jets rookie S Ashtyn Davis' chip on his shoulder has remained.
"That's become part of my identity," Davis told reporters after his first full team practice in Green & White. "I work the same way that I did when I was a walk-on. I keep that same mentality and hopefully it'll take me places."
The Cal product, who played football and ran track in Berkeley, is leaning on fellow S Marcus Maye. Maye is the longest-tenured player defensive back in Dennard Wilson's room and Davis is ready to take what he learned in the spring throughout the virtual meetings to the field.
"I felt pretty confident going in, but now it's just about getting reps and the details down," he said. "I'm trying to learn the positions that I can and I'll be available whatever he asks me to do. I'll be ready to do it."
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams mandates his players learn multiple positions and Davis showcased his position flexibility in college. The 6'0", 207-pounder has experience at multiple safety spots and he's comfortable wherever he will be asked to line up. He likes Williams' cross-training approach because it enables him to learn more of the defense and provides a better understanding of where his help is. In addition to defensive reps, Davis will likely see time on special teams.
"I'm a fast guy and special teams is just defense in space, so it's a good opportunity to show I can do what they need me to do on defense as well as making a contribution to the team," he said. "I'm competitive, so if we're out there on the football field regardless of what it is, I like doing it."
Davis, who had 19 pass defenses and 7 interceptions in 49 games for the Golden Bears, joins a safeties room that no longer features Jamal Adams. Adams reached out to Davis after he was drafted, but the two didn't talk much beyond that. Adams was then traded in July to the Seahawks in exchange for draft capital and S Bradley McDougald. Despite not having a two-time Pro Bowler in Adams, Williams likes the group general manager Joe Douglas has assembled.
"There's another guy that has had to prove himself and I love the fact that he had to walk-on and he had to do everything he could just to get a scholarship and get some time at the college level to play," Williams said of Davis. "He's done very well in everything that we've seen."