With Marcus Maye potentially transitioning towards playing SS, can Ashtyn Davis step in and complement Gregg Williams‘ scheme as a rangy safety? Sam Crnic breaks down Davis’ NCAA All-22 Film at Cal.
Entering the 2020 offseason, the plan was to make Jamal Adams “a Jet for life.” Having already handed C.J. Mosley a $17 million-per-year contract in 2019, Jamal was destined for a number even greater. Considering the potential financial burden and the fact that Marcus Maye was also nearing negotiations for a second contract, it was time for Joe Douglas to make tough decisions.
That started with the 2020 NFL Draft.
Before the Adams trade, it was imperative for Joe Douglas to find a cheaper option at FS with so much money saved for the SS position. At the same time, everyone in the building knew that Jamal Adams’ time with the Jets was limited. Attempting to contemplate the potential of both options, Douglas looked to target a safety somewhere after the first round.
Selected at the beginning of the third round, Ashtyn Davis was the man for the job.
- Hometown: Santa Cruz, California
- High School: Santa Cruz High School
- Position: FS
- School: Cal
- Height: 6-foot-1
- Weight: 201 pounds
A star track runner from Santa Cruz HS, Ashtyn Davis didn’t get much football attention until college. As a senior in high school, Davis was the Central Coast Section 110-meter high hurdles champion, earning him interest from various college track coaches. Even with scholarship opportunities, Davis joined Cal’s track team as a walk-on.
Ashtyn wasn’t a part of the football team until a spring tryout his freshmen year. From there, he only improved every year. As a redshirt junior, Davis was named All Pac-12 Conference due to recording 56 tackles (third on team) and 4 interceptions (third in Pac-12). A solidified leader throughout his 4 years at Cal, Ashtyn Davis was awarded the team’s Joe Roth Award for sportsmanship and attitude.
With Jamal Adams gone, and the combination of Marcus Maye and Bradley McDougald filling in his spot, Ashtyn Davis has a perfect opportunity to develop into Gregg Williams‘ future free safety.
Asked about who he watches in his position at the next level and what he does in his free time, Davis responded:
“There’s not one person, I’d say, but I watch a lot of Harrison Smith… Micah Hyde has a pretty good range in the post. Guys like Earl Thomas are so good at what they do. I try to incorporate a lot of that stuff into my game.”
“I’m not too social, but I’ll go do outdoor-y things… I like hiking. As corny as it may some, something like climbing a tree… I grew up in the Red Woods, so I would just go out there and either hit golf balls or just go hike around.”
Backpedaling before the snap to be better aligned towards the strong side, Davis (single-high safety) recognizes the inside run down the A gap and closes down on the runner with rapid quickness. Upon impact, he dips his shoulders along with ideal flexion in his knees, laying down a punching tackle.
Operating from the slot this time around, Davis (right side) gives his man an 8-yard cushion off the line of scrimmage. Although this a throw that Oregon QB Justin Herbert should never attempt, this a poor route from the WR. With Ashtyn’s explosive close-down speed on the ball, he undercuts the route to pick the ball off, weaving through blocks until he’s tripped up at the 35.