Film Review: Cowboys Sack Leader Ryan Davis Brings Versatility ⋆
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Film Review: Cowboys Sack Leader Ryan Davis Brings Versatility

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Film Review: Cowboys Sack Leader Ryan Davis Brings Versatility

In a development that rightfully should have surprised nobody, the Dallas Cowboys managed just one sack out of their defensive line in week 1, falling 20-19 at home to the New York Giants.

The team’s career active sack leader at the time, Orlando Scandrick (don’t shoot the messenger), got home on Eli Manning once while the other sack came from first-year Cowboy Benson Mayowa.

Now the career lead in sacks on the team actually belongs to a defensive lineman, as Ryan Davis was brought in after being released last month from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Davis accounted for 11 sacks over four years with the Jaguars, starting in 2012 after he went undrafted.

Davis’ best year came in 2014 when he managed 6.5 sacks. After serving as both a productive and versatile player, Davis’ departure from Jacksonville was reportedly due to the coaching staff looking to move him around to different positions – particularly linebacker.

While Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli loves players with flexibility when it comes to where they can play, there is little doubt that he will be asking Davis to focus on getting after opposing quarterbacks – something he has proven to be able to do in a number of ways before.

The same cannot be said about many of the other current Cowboys defensive linemen, so let’s dive into some film on Ryan Davis to get a better feel for what he can bring to the team.

 

 

The first tape I studied for Davis came from 2014, his best season as a pro. The Jaguars moved him around their front multiple times to create pressure, with Davis flashing mostly as a penetrating defensive tackle.

On this first play watch how Davis is able to set up his blocker off the ball with his hands on the inside, in order to drive him back using his strong legs and finish the play. When it came to using his hands as a pass rusher, Davis struggled to do so consistently in 2014, but this was as good as it gets.

 

 

 

In this clip below, you see Davis lined up as a left defensive end, and capture the edge with some quickness and bend. While Davis may not excel in any particular area, he rarely failed to capture the edge as both a left and right defensive end from his 2014 tape. You’ll see when we get to his 2015 tape, he began to show more in terms of pass rush moves and unpredictability attacking blockers.

 

 

Rushing as an LDE here, Davis is able to feel his blocker trying to extend on him as he powers off the edge. Using his speed and size, Davis disengages and just finds a way to the quarterback – something that only proven defensive linemen like him can do with consistency.

This particular sack of Ryan Tannehill came on a third down play, flipping field position and forcing a punt.

 

 

 

Above, Ryan Davis is now lined up as a right defensive end. The left tackle tries to extend on him, and is able to at least knock him off of his path. Davis quickly recovers to use his leverage around the blocker, first with his quick hands and then with some impressive closing speed.

You’ll see all of these things once again on display from Davis as an RDE in the following clip from a different angle, along with another good example of his strength when it comes to controlling both tackles and guards looking to slow him down.

 

 

 

Against the run, Davis was able to fold inside when lined up as an end and fill gaps with some impressive but inconsistent lateral movement. Occasionally he would be caught playing a bit too high, which caused him to struggle to get a push against linemen that could work inside of him.

This was another thing that Ryan Davis improved on when I moved into his 2015 tape.

 

 

 

Right away from last season, Davis showed a lot more consistent and athletic bend as a pass rusher. For all of the plays in 2014 where he simply got beat with bad positioning, there were also a number of plays where Davis could have finished off plays if he had a better ability to finish around the edge.

The Cowboys will take pressures any way they can get them right now, and throwing Ryan Davis out there with the likes of Terrell McClain and Tyrone Crawford – two potentially dominant interior defensive tackles – is a good place to start.

 

 

 

On this next play, Davis uses his speed to his advantage on a stunt to the inside. Already running downhill when he meets his blocker, Davis knocks his man back and forces the attention of a second blocker as he pushes the middle of the pocket.

 

 

 

Ryan Davis is far from perfect, but the Dallas Cowboys don’t need perfect right now when it comes to establishing depth along the defensive line. When the likes of Kyle Wilber, a natural SAM linebacker, were called upon last week in order to establish some form of a rotation, it became clear that an upgrade was needed.

The Cowboys have made us all shake our heads when it comes to finding these upgrades defensively, but they just added a quality pass rusher that still has time to develop. Waiting on the practice squad is another defensive end with experience in Zach Moore (who I scouted right here), and awaiting the status on his suspension is the talented but troubled Randy Gregory. 

DeMarcus Lawrence is also set to return in week 5, and Charles Tapper should also work his way into the defensive end equation sooner rather than later. Things could be looking up very soon for the Cowboys front four.

What do you think of newly signed DE Ryan Davis? Let us know! Share your takeaways from this scouting report by leaving a comment below, or you can email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com.

You can also find all of these clips, along with much more when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys, on my Twitter account @ShoreSportsNJ

Tell us what you think about “Film Review: Cowboys Sack Leader Ryan Davis Brings Versatility” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @ShoreSportsNJ!

Sean Martin

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we're not how you think we are. Host of "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Also available through iHeart radio! Keep up with the show on Twitter @UFRWMSC!

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