Jamin Davis didn't do much during the Washington Commanders' OTAs or minicamp this offseason, as he was dealing with a cleanup procedure on his knee.
The team is still excited about what he could be in his third season.
"Year three now, we should expect him to be at his best," said defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.
Davis was noticeably better during his second season with the Commanders, recording 104 tackles (nine for loss) two fumble recoveries and three sacks, all of which were improved from his rookie campaign. The 2021 first-round pick found a ways to help elevate the Commanders' defense by being more consistent, and the team expects that trend to continue.
"All I gotta do is continue to prove myself right, continue to work and make that jump in Year 3 as well," Davis told reporters.
Mixed would perhaps be the most accurate way to describe Davis' snaps in 2021. There were moments when Davis showed off the quickness and playmaking ability in space -- such as his fourth down stop in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills -- that played a role in the Commanders drafting him with the 19th overall pick that year.
There were also moments where Davis missed opportunities and showed that he still had plenty of room to grow in his NFL career.
"If you take...30 splash plays out of the year, it's like, 'Oh my God. This guy's a great player," Del Rio said prior to the 2022 season. "So, what we need from Jamin is more consistency, and I think you'll see that growth in his second year."
That prediction turned out to be correct, as Davis used his skill set to create disruptive plays for the Commanders. He operated better in traffic, which he showed in a tackle for loss on third-and-goal against the Indianapolis Colts; he improved his ability to rush quarterbacks, recording sacks on Jared Goff and Jalen Hurts; and he used his athleticism to close the gap on pass-catchers in coverage.
"We had more splash plays and less, 'What the heck are you doing' plays," Del Rio said. "And we need that trend to continue."
Davis would like that to continue as well, especially with him now being one of the most experienced linebackers on the roster. First, he needs to get healthy -- he is expected to be ready for training camp in August -- and then he wants to "continue putting my nose to the grindstone."
His biggest priority: cut down on the missed opportunities.
"Like I always say, there's a lot left on the bone at the end of the day," Davis said. "So, I want to go out there and make those plays that are sitting right there for me."
Del Rio said Davis will be challenged this year because of how much the rest of the linebackers have progressed this offseason. Although Cody Barton mostly worked with the backups while he learned the defense, he showed enough to convince Del Rio that "he's going to be a valuable piece for us." Even players like Khaleke Hudson, who started against the Cowboys in Week 18, have made strides as they prepare for the upcoming season.
"When Jamin gets back, the key for him is going to be eliminate some of the 'What the heck is this' plays from his game and have some more of those splash plays."
The Washington Commanders were on the field for the first day of minicamp. Check out the top photos from the afternoon.
Davis isn't shying away from the obstacles.
"Nothing comes easy," Davis said. "We've got a great competition in our room. We've gotta work for it and earn everything. That's the main focus."
Pro Football Focus called Davis a potential “X-Factor,” adding that "this unit's success will almost solely depend on Davis' progress." Perhaps that is true; perhaps it isn't, but the Commanders would certainly benefit if Davis continued to ascend.
"Before you know it, it'll be lights out for everybody," Davis said.