The Denver Broncos found another undrafted gem in Todd Davis. After being signed to the New Orleans Saints practice squad, and subsequently cut in 2014, Denver picked him up in the middle of the 2014 season.
Name: Todd Davis
Position: Inside Linebacker
College: Sacramento State
When Danny Trevathan left via free agency in 2016, Davis assumed the second interior linebacker role next to Brandon Marshall and led the team with 97 tackles. Last year, he continued to be a force against the run, registering 82 stops in 14 games.
Todd Davis is a monster against the run. He’s at his best when he is attacking downhill and shooting gaps. He’s explosive through the hole, a sure tackler, stacks and sheds blockers well and has good instincts to sniff out the ball carrier.
I have talked a lot about this, but it’s because I feel like it’s often overlooked, but Denver really made some good adjustments last year to utilize Todd Davis’ skillset the best.
They tweaked their run scheme to have Davis attack downhill when he saw defensive linemen getting double teamed, which resulted in him making a lot of disruptive plays, as well as freeing up his linemen to make plays.
Here is a prime example of Davis doing his job and using his instincts to draw the double team off his teammate to allow him to make a play.
Here’s another example of him shooting the gap in this same way to make a play in the backfield.
Also, while Davis’ skills in man coverage are severely lacking, he actually shows good instincts in zone coverage, and is a sure tackler. When he keeps the play in front of him and can attack downhill, he is effective.
Todd Davis gets ripped for his coverage, but he and Marshall do a great job communicating and switching on the TE pick route. Its Marshall's man, but they swap mid-play due to the pick. Allows Von to get sack. Won't show up on stat sheet, but Von should thank Davis for the sack pic.twitter.com/6jccsx1ez9— Jeffrey Essary (@JeffreyEssary) September 29, 2017
I could put together an entire highlight reel of Todd Davis being burned in man coverage, but I’ll just show a few examples.
Davis is so stiff in man coverage, and lacks fluidity to mirror backs and tight ends.
Often teams would specifically scheme to keep Denver in their base packages so they could exploit Todd Davis in coverage.
He is strictly a two-down player. That’s the biggest drawback for Davis.
Again, Denver adjusted well to this last year and took Davis off of the 1-on-1 assignments, instead allowing him to stay in the middle in a shallow zone, or blitz occasionally. This minimized the damage teams were able to do in base packages, and is a key reason Denver experimented with more zone concepts last year.
On how his mindset has changed after signing an extension
“I’ve been the same. I’ve still been working hard, still been training. I think my wife and I are locked more into Denver. We bought a house and started remodeling and stuff. We’re definitely going to stay here for a while and that has kind of changed. As far as my preparation, it’s been the same.”
On when he started turning his attention to this season
“Probably a day after the season I stopped thinking about [last season]. You learn from your mistakes, so you definitely have to think about those a little bit. But you don’t let that stay in your mind too long. You can’t do anything about last season. All you can do is focus on is this season. We have some big goals this season. We have some great players. We have a lot ahead of us. That’s all we’re focused on.”
I really liked bringing Todd Davis back. He signed a three year, $15 million deal with only a $3 million signing bonus so his dead money next year is manageable. With Davis, Denver has a very solid base linebacker who is excellent in stopping the run.