Georgia Tech’s P.J. Davis might not hear his name called during the draft. At 5-foot-11 and 231 pounds, he’s not the prototypical NFL linebacker these days. He’s just a tad short and half a step too slow to show up on very many draft boards.
But Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson said that, if given a chance, Davis won’t down without a fight.
“If he gets in camp, he’ll be a hard guy to cut because he’s going to go 100 mph and do everything he can and compete,” Johnson said. “And it matters to him. He wants to be good. Hopefully he’ll get an opportunity to go somewhere and show what he’s got.”
The odds have never been is his favor. Coming out of Cairo, Davis was rated with two stars, not exactly the stuff of which legends are made. His only Division I offer was from Temple. Georgia Tech took a chance and reaped great rewards.
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“What did they give him? Two stars?” Georgia Tech assistant coach Andy McCollum asked. “And what did he do? Just come here and start for four years.”
Davis played 50 games in his career at Georgia Tech. He was the leading tackler in 2014 and 2015 and likely would have done the same thing in 2016 had it not been for an injury that caused him to miss almost three games. With his instincts and willingness to get physical, Davis finished his career with 313 total tackles.
“P.J. just wants a chance,” Johnson said. “He’s always been undersized for the position, but you’re not going to find a kid with a bigger heart or a tougher kid.”
Davis said, “I’m an undersized guy, but I’ve got heart. You can’t measure heart. I’m going to come in each and every day and give everything I’ve got, lay it all out on the line.”
At Georgia Tech’s pro day last month, Davis opened some eyes with his determination and willingness to go all-out in every drill. Scouts were impressed by his strength as he had 26 repetitions on the bench press during the workouts.
“I got a lot of good feedback,” he said. “A good bit told me I had a good day and they were looking forward to seeing me later on. … I definitely feel like I’m more athletic than what they assumed. I just came in and gave everything I could do.”
Although he hasn’t played running back since he was in high school, he was more than willing to take a few snaps at fullback when requested by the Atlanta Falcons.
“They wanted to see me in a fullback drill,” Davis said. “I told them I’d play anything they need me to do. I was a running back in high school. I can handle it.”
But the NFL is a business, and Davis will need to overcome the cold facts that he is an undersized player.
“Me being a linebacker at 5-9, I know I have to battle my size,” he said. “But I leave it all up to God. At the end of the day, He’s got the final say-so.”