NAME: Akeem Davis-Gaither
SCHOOL: Appalachian State
WEIGHT: 220 pounds
Today’s Kansas City Chiefs draft prospect profile will look into an enticing defender at linebacker. While at Appalachian State, he was free to work in many different positions all over the field. This helped to better shape his physicality and overall athleticism. There are some questions with this player’s size. However, Kansas City is a team who is all about putting their players in position to succeed. Now, let’s get things going with our breakdown of Akeem Davis-Gaither.
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I was very impressed with Davis-Gaither in this area. He is willing to go down low around offensive linemen, to cut down running backs at the knees. Elsewhere, Davis-Gaither is a violent finisher in space against receivers or tight ends. What is important, is how controlled and balanced he is to set himself up for tackles. It is good to see the thumping ability that he has. Because overall, Davis-Gaither can struggle at times against contact, or with his length.
Easily, you can see how natural of an athlete Davis-Gaither is. His short area quickness, and ability to slip through offensive linemen blocks, allow for consistent production or created havoc. Davis-Gaither’s feet are springy and his hips are fluid. Furthermore, there is little to no wasted movement on the second level. He has the range, though the effort shows to work downfield to catch runners from behind. Where Davis-Gaither lacks in length, he makes up for in a strong lower half. Offensive linemen can become surprised by his pass rush moves, when playing near the line of scrimmage.
Quite often, Davis-Gaither has some notable pass coverage reps on tape. He can work in the slot with receivers downfield. To boot, you will see him flash his instincts on underneath routes out wide or in the middle of the field. If the ball is thrown in front of Davis-Gaither, he does well to work threw the trash and get his hat to the football. The anticipation is very intriguing. However, getting to his landmarks and finding the right time to flip his hips is a work in progress. Davis-Gaither also has natural hands when receiving opportunities for an interception.
Taking On Blocks
When playing near the line of scrimmage, you can see his pass rush moves help him to work around guys. There will be moments where his feet stop moving here, or at the second level. When playing out wide or in the slot, Davis-Gaither has a tough time shedding blockers. His lateral movement will help him. But when receivers have the chance to gain steam and run right by him, there is not enough time for Davis-Gaither to recover and make a play. His anticipation will help limit this on pass plays. Though, blockers have an advantage when climbing to the second level.
Davis-Gaither looks pretty effortless when needing to change direction. Moreover, he is pretty comfortable in rushing the passer. There are reps where he showed success working outside to in, inside to out and shooting the gap straight ahead. If teams allow Davis-Gaither to trust his dynamic athleticism and the limitations are smoothed out, he will be just fine at the NFL level.
Akeem Davis-Gaither can wear many different hats on the defense, if necessary. Ideally, I think he can work as a linebacker/safety hybrid in a defense like Steve Spagnuolo‘s. Let him work heavily in passing downs in the sub package roles. When he’s in against the run, allow him to use that flashiness and slippery style to work upfield to cut down ball carriers. Overall, this player can help Kansas City when teams are looking to work the wide sides of the field.
Be on the lookout for more Chiefs offseason coverage. Included, will be more draft prospect profiles and free agency topics. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.