WASHINGTON - The Washington Football Team has selected Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis with the 19th pick in the 2021 NFL draft.
Davis is the third Kentucky player taken in the first round since 2015, joining DE Bud Dupree (2015 to Pittsburgh) and DE Josh Allen (2019 to Jacksonville).
He started just one season with the Wildcats, and surprised experts by entering the draft as a junior.
"It’s a surreal feeling, but it’s not weird to me," Davis said of his quick ascent up the depth chart to an NFL first-round pick. "I’m just ready to show the world who I am."
Washington hopes Davis follows in the footsteps of previous linebackers selected by Rivera, a retired linebacker in his own right. Carolina took Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson in the first round during coach Ron Rivera’s time there.
Linebacker, offensive tackle and tight end were among the most pressing needs coach Ron Rivera’s team needed to fill. Starting linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis left in free agency.
Davis was the pick for Washington over Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw.
Washington resisted the temptation to trade up for one of the top five quarterbacks. It cost Chicago a 2022 first-round pick to move up several spots for Ohio State's Justin Fields, a price Washington wasn't willing to pay.
The Associated Press contributed to this report