Will Davis, a bright young player coming out of Illinois, was selected in the sixth round by the Arizona Cardinals in 2009. Thought to be a very versatile defensive player, the Cards knew that with Clancy Pendergast out as defensive coordinator and Bill Davis in, they would need some flexible young players to fit into their scheme. The idea was to get more pressure on the opposing QB, with Bill Davis standing at the vanguard of a more aggressive defense that was never afraid to blitz on any given play. After playing wide receiver and tight end during his early days at Illinois, Will Davis was switched to defense where he won multiple awards in the Big Ten for his ability to sack the quarterback and disrupt the passing game when he dropped into coverage. So why is he still overlooked as a successor to some of the aging Cards players? Jump it.
Well, injury often plays a huge role in the development of a young player. During his rookie 2009 season he had to sit out the last five weeks of the regular season due to a knee injury. He also broke his leg this last season while filling in for Clark Haggans, who was out with a groin injury and was only able to play in 10 games. For the 2011 season we hope to have him back and (hopefully) healthy. He could undeniably become a stalwart on that defensive unit playing at the OLB position.
Much chatter has already begun of what the linebacker corps will look like during the upcoming season.
Will O’Brien Schofield be ready to fill the void should Joey Porter be cut?
Will the Cardinals look to draft a Von Miller or Robert Quinn type of player to fill a spot at outside linebacker?
With all of the versatility that Davis possesses, would it be possible for him to move to inside linebacker to prevent Paris Lenon from having to play so many downs at his age?
My personal belief is that if Will has a productive training camp and is able to show aggressiveness, then he could have a break out season while playing plenty of snaps for Whisenhunt and new D-Coordinator Ray Horton. Since the Cardinals do run a 3-4 defense, a strong linebacker unit is necessary, right? Last season we witnessed some lapses in the secondary due to a lack of pass rush and young players unable to get their heads into the game. With Hayes, Porter, and maybe even Haggans being released, the opportunities are presenting themselves for someone to step in. Hint hint Will Davis…
The door is wide open Will; will he be able to become more than just a special teams player?