The Jets turned back to the defensive side of the ball with the 77th pick in the 2012 Draft when they selected red-shirt senior inside linebacker Demario Davis of Arkansas State. Davis was a preseason All-Sunbelt Conference first-team selection and showed signs of further improvement following his final collegiate season.
"He was at the Senior Bowl and I would say that's probably where he began to open more eyes. We brought him in here on a visit. The more we saw, the more we liked," said Joey Clinkscales, Jets vice president of college scouting.
Davis' combine numbers include a speedy 4.61 40-split when considering his large stature of 6'2" and 235 pounds. He also registered a 38.5-inch vertical, a 4.28-second shuttle and 25 reps on the 225-pound benchpress.
While he primarily played outside linebacker at ASU, the Jets will transition Davis to an inside role.
"Wherever they have me playing, I'm going to be ready to contribute as best I can," said Davis on a late-night conference call with Jets reporters.
Not only is Demario expected to make an impact in the already stout Jet defense, the team believes he can be just as effective, if not more so of a contributor on the special teams side of the ball.
"He's one of the top players [special teams coach] Mike Westhoff rated. Mike probably did over 100 players and he was one of the top players Mike evaluated," said Terry Bradway, Jets Senior Personnel executive.
As a Red Wolf, Davis posted consistent numbers throughout his five-year career. Following his redshirt freshman season in 2008, he played at least 11 games per year and was a Phil Steele All-Sunbelt Player of the Year nomination in 2009. He registered 63 tackles with a sack and 3.5 tackles for loss in 2010, and improved to 69 tackles, three sacks and10 TFLs in his senior season. One of his most memorable plays was a 75-yard interception-return touchdown against nationally ranked Iowa in 2009.
"Demario really brings a skillset," said general manager Mike Tannenbaum. "He can run, he can hit, he's gotten sacks, and he's a real good special teams player."
Going into the draft there was some uncertainty on where Davis would land and what round he would be selected in, but there is no question who he plays for now.
"All I can say is I'm ready to play like a Jet," he said.