So Davon House is back. Sure, we’re happy he returned, but what should we expect when we throw him back in the cornerback jambalaya we have simmering on the training camp stove?
For one, he’s the undisputed veteran leader of a super young group. King is a rookie, while Randall, Rollins, and Gunter all have two years under their belts. This group has a long time before they think about their second contract and House is already on his third. He’s been here, worked with guys like Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams and coach Joe Whitt Jr and in another program, working with different players and a different staff. This gives him a unique perspective and experience to share with his younger teammates.
But he’s not here to help develop the younger guys (that angle is overrated by fans in pretty much every situation) – he’s here to compete for a starting job.
Will he get it?
He’s a former fourth round pick, recently cut in the middle of his contract, going up against the Packers physically-gifted first pick of the draft and three guys who should all have improved with their experience from last year and health from this year.
Kevin King is premium talent, even if he’s raw and missing OTA time because of the worst rule in all of sports. You want your top picks to step in and play right away.
Damarious Randall was top pick who stepped in and played right away and he’s coming back from serious injuries last year – we expect him to be much improved.
Gunter is a feel good story with a physical aspect to his game and Rollins is a former basketball player with footwork suited to the slot.
So what about Davon?
He was a fourth round pick (meaning that Gunter is the only guy in the aforementioned group who went lower than him). That doesn’t mean he can’t play, though – just look at what Ted has done with his fourth round picks. He came out as a six footer with 4.4 speed and a nasty streak.
He was in line to earn serious playing time after an impressive rookie offseason, but, as was often the case for him in Green Bay, injuries derailed in season.
He was healthy for stretches, and even stayed healthy enough to appear in 16 games in 2013. In his four years here, he showed more in practice than we got to see in games and earned a reputation for being the Jordy Stopper. In his best on-field appearance, he was the only Packer corner who could contain Julio Jones after pretty much everyone else on the team took turns trying,
That performance may have been a part of what prompted Jacksonville to give him starter money even though he wasn’t a starter in Green Bay.
His first year in Jacksonville, he was a starter and picked off 4 passes in addition to breaking up 23, which nearly doubled his previous career total and set a franchise record for the Jaguars.
After his first year with the team, the Jaguars signed Prince Amukamara, changed their defensive scheme, and benched House a month into the season. Then, in the offseason, they cut him.
So now what?
Do we get the guy the who couldn’t beat out underachiever Prince Amukamara, who is on his third team in three years?
Do we get the guy who couldn’t stay healthy in his first go-round with the Packers?
Or do we get the guy who flustered Jordy Nelson in practice and shut down Julio Jones in prime time?
As with most things, it probably will be somewhere between those extremes.
Right now, though, there’s no reason not to be optimistic. He’s been healthy, he understands the system, and his time away from Green Bay helped him appreciate it even more. It’s too early to tell if that will translate to production on the field, but we should start to get the results in a few months…