A J Davis – a man of character     

Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry opened his conference with: The number one thing about AJ Davis is his ‘character’. In today’s Detroit Lion world it seems character is number one. Tanard Jackson was still on the board when AJ was drafted. What were the Lions thinking? Jackson was considered a much better draft pick than AJ Davis. Why draft AJ? Why not TJ?     

The problem was there were some attitude issues to consider. For instance Jackson was suspended in 2006 for “conduct detrimental to the team”.  The Lions have had enough of locker room poison. No character? No phone call. No contract.     

Joe Barry also praised AJ for his explosive speed describing him as a “monster”. Davis doesn’t turn down hits. When given the chance, he takes a guy out. He does this all-game long. He has a motor that doesn’t quit.     

If Davis is so good, why were 10 CB’s drafted before him.     

Read any scouting report on AJ Davis and the opening line will be “One of the fastest cornerbacks in the country…”     

In the U.S. Army All-American Game, Davis was timed in the 40-yard dash at 4.28 seconds, making him the fastest player in that game.     

In track, AJ Davis set the state record in the long jump with 24’10”. In 2002, he was the NC Indoor Champion in the triple jump (48’1″) and the long jump (24-0.5).     

So you know, this guy has got speed.  The caveat to the opening assessment on Davis is “One of the fastest cornerbacks in the country… when he is healthy.”     

AJ Davis received a medical red shirt in 2002 for a fractured fibula, but he still played four years of college ball, 2003-2006. He missed 2+ games in 2006 with a hamstring pull. He also suffered a ‘groin pull’, which did not let him work out at the NFL combine, and hampered his speed at his Pro Day.     

Last year I was talking with a the head trainer at a Big Ten University, and he compared the recovery rate of football players versus track athletes. Without question football players recovered faster and had better tolerance for injury than track stars. This is not a surprise, but it does lead to the question, “Is AJ Davis a track athlete or a football player?”     

The Detroit Lions are well aware of AJ’s history. They know he has been hurt. They know it is a gamble picking up a player who has been hurt, that he might get hurt again. But, fourth round picks are gambles for a variety of reasons. In this case, AJ Davis has ‘Character’. That’s what tipped the scales in his favor.     

It is a good lesson for all athletes out there who have dreams of playing college or pro football. If you have good talent and good character, even if you get hurt, you still have good character. If you have good talent and bad character, you better not get hurt, because then you’ve got nothing.      

You’ve just been selected by the Detroit Lions. What are you going to do now?     

I read several papers that quoted AJ Davis in a Sunday interview. The most popular one was, “When it is time to buckle-up and go, I will be ready.”     

My favorite AJ Davis quote was, “I’m coming there to start.”