Former Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis was the first player chosen from a state college in the NFL draft when the Lions selected him with the No. 21 overall pick Thursday.
Davis had a stellar career for the Gators, where he racked up 205 tackles (20 for loss) in four seasons. The 6-foot-1, 238-pound Georgia native considered turning pro after the 2015 season but returned for his senior year.
The risk paid off. Even though the Kingsland, Ga., native missed four games with injuries, he still ranked second on the team with 60 tackles and fourth with five quarterback hurries. He helped his case with a team-high seven tackles against rival Georgia, despite a nagging ankle injury.
"He could have shut it down with that injury, and you guys saw what he did, just even in that Georgia game when he shouldn't have been playing," UF coach Jim McElwain said before the draft. "And yet that showed more to these guys about him being able to come out and play and want to play and play hurt."
Davis' stock began to soar at his pro day, when his 38½-inch vertical leap and 10-foot, 9-inch broad jump were better than any linebacker at the NFL scouting combine. He became the eighth UF player selected in the first round over the past four drafts.
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