Football, NFL

Film Session : Marlon Davidson – Auburn DL Pick 2:52

Today, we’ll take a look at Marlon Davidson, and how this may become the steal of the draft (for the Falcons at least). To see AJ Terrell’s film or Matt Hennessy’s Film click the Hyperlink

As the draft continues to unfold, the Falcons thus far have done something very unusual in the TD era, stayed firm with their draft positions. In this internet experts opinion, this has been a very effective tactic for the Falcons. The first thing to know about Davidson is he’s an athletic versatile lineman. He weighed in at 300lbs, but on film he can line up anywhere 3 tech DT to wide 9 DE. This is a great fit for Quinn’s scheme who likes versatile 3-4 style ends that give the team more flexibility in early down play calls to defend the run without sacrificing bodies on the back end.

Marlon Davidson came into a deep DL group at Auburn 4 years ago, and became a nearly instant starter and play-maker for the Tigers. Too many peoples surprise last season, him & Derrick Brown, chose to return to campus to complete their senior year. Anyone who watched Auburn this season knows those two, at least, did not disappoint. They combined for 23 TFL (11.5/ea) and 10.5 sacks with Davidson accounting for 6.5 of them.

Oh, and if you don;t know already, he loves abusing people on the gridiron.

As you start to dive into film, one of the first games I chose to watch was LSU. Davidson spent most the night going against Saahiq Charles. A guy most people believed had the tape and talent to be a first round pick, but a list of off field issues hurt his draft stock. This ultimately was a tough game for Davidson. He won his fair share, but at time Charles seemed to easily stand him up and stop his momentum especially when he played from the 4 technique.

He does show real promise as a guy who can line up as far in as 3tech to the outside wide 9 where he shows his best tape rushing the passer.

One of the things Davidson is really good at is setting an edge in both the run game and pass game. He rarely loses the edge on run plays to his side and is rarely caught not maintaining his gap integrity on a pass rush. In one example against LSU, they try to pull a guard to double team and pinch Davidson out of the play to create a lane. The combination of the tackle and guard could not move Davidson, and the wall set ultimately allowed the team to swarm.

As you watch, Davidson is really good at establishing this edge and then shedding blocks to make plays. With the movement to RPO’s, being able to diagnose and shed blocks quickly is key to success for DL

Since Davidson came back for his senior season, we also got a chance to see some film of him at the senior bowl, and he did not disappoint. Going against Simpson from Clemson in drills, and Daivdson gave him the work. Not once, but twice. First h showed good explosion off the snap and lateral agility. He then came back and bull rushed him out the way with one arm. That’s a good look if you want to try using him inside in the nickel.

Senior bowl film from Voch Lombardi. Check his YT channel here & the whole senior bowl tape here

He didn’t stop there, but came back and did it again on the outside with a nice set of moves showing some creativity in his rushes

It wasn’t all wins though and he did show the ability to get stood up

He did best day 2 pick Cushenberry from LSU l;later in practice

The one thing that is very evident on film is his motor as well. Davidson goes after it all the time and doesn’t give up on plays. He recognizes when he won’t get to the QB and gets his eyes & hands up to get pass deflections (had 9 in his career at Auburn). He’s powerful yet nimble for 300lbs. How fast he can adjust to the new competition and build chemistry with the DL group will determine whether hes an immediate impact starter or a guy with the potential to develop into one. Personally from watching the tape, Takk better be worried about losing his spot in the starting rotation as Davidson will be coming in gunning for a starter spot. He doesn’t seem to fit the NT role so I would expect Quinn to use him as an outside end in his 4-3 Under and look at potentially sliding inside during nickel downs.

Falcons fans should be really excited about this pick as this is a guy who can impact games for this team this year, and he brings the mental attitude you love that is infectious for a locker room. Welcome to the A Davidson!

-Sniper Steve

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