I think I speak for most Alabama fans, when I say that it would have really been nice to have Jalyn Armour-Davis back for a second season at starting corner.
During fall camp, JAD was one of the players that Nick Saban frequently raved over, and for good reason. In his single season as a starter, Jalyn easily became the best man-corner on the Alabama roster and one of its most productive defenders. JAD tied for the team lead in picks (3), notched 32 tackles from his CB spot, tied for first with 4 PBUs, led the team in passes defended (8), and even picked up a TFL and a QB Hurry.
Versatile, rangy, with elite athleticism and high-end speed, JAD has all the tools necessary to thrive in the NFL. He has very smooth hips, and doesn’t get turned around easily. He has makeup speed if he’s beaten on the route, and can get vertical with almost anyone. He certainly plays a lot bigger than his 6’.5” and 197 pound frame in many respects. Though, you would like to see him get a bit stronger, particular on the jam. There were several instances last season where he relied on that elite speed and coverage ability to makeup for getting pushed off the line.
Inexperience is Jalyn’s main deficit, and you saw that in instances where he was asked to play off-ball or had responsibilities on the switch. But those were limitations largely born of reps, not in skills or ability. JAD has the tools to stick around the NFL for a while, though one suspects the learning curve will be fairly steep his first season or two.
Strike while the iron is hot, eh? Coming off a late season-injury that saw a 2nd Team All-SEC campaign, you can’t blame him for throwing his hat into the ring, but I am really going to miss JAD this season, where he could have blossomed into one of the nation’s elite corners rather than “just” becoming a decent mid-round steal for a team looking for immediate help in the secondary. And, until he becomes the fully functional JAD that we suspect he will grow into, expect to see him used a lot as a slot corner: he has the speed and fluidity, and his lack of physicality at the line is far less pressing at that position.
In frame and speed, JAD is almost identical to all-world Marshon Lattimore, though it would require inordinate Gumping to compare the two as entering NFL players. Lattimore was a can’t-miss First Rounder. JAD could get there, for sure. But he doesn’t enter with the experience or polished game of Marshon. His playing style is much closer to the Miami Dolphin’s Eric Rowe, a highly-productive second-round steal. If JAD’s career begins anywhere that auspiciously, consider it a smashing success. Though, I suspect Armour-Davis will fully develop as a player two years or so. Patience will be the key for his development and, ultimately, his success.
Best of luck, Jalyn
Love the Jalyn Armour-Davis pick for the Ravens. Adding to their secondary with him and Kyle Hamilton. Plus four picks to invest in the trenches. Very typical Ravens draft and it's great. Another four 4th rounders to go for them too!— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 30, 2022