On S2 E2 of Flippin’ The Birds, we broke down the slow free agency (this was before the Slay trade), Bryan gave some insight on Malcolm Jenkins’ departure, and Chris gave some insight on Howie’s motives in the front office.
We were also very lucky to have another week of an interview of a popular linebacker prospect, this time it was former Appalachian State linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither.
In 27 career games (only one in 2017), Davis-Gaither amassed 201 tackles, 24 for loss, and five sacks.
As a former safety, Davis-Gaither has the mobility to stay with tight ends and running backs, and the speed to move sideline to sideline.
He’s been a popular target of many mock drafts in the third round, the round the Eagles took Jordan Hicks in 2015.
Here’s what we talked about with the 2019 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year:
How has [the quarantine] affected you right now? With the preparation and your rehab?
“Well most of the stuff I can do rehab wise, I can do it at home, just getting stability back in my foot and stuff like that. But besides that, everything around here is still open. I mean I can go in, stretch, do upper body workouts and stuff. It’s truly not affecting me as much since I can’t do any running.”
*Davis-Gaither underwent foot surgery a week after the combine, he is only a few weeks away from recovery*
What made you choose football?
“We’re all athletes [in the household] so sports was always in our family. Growing up I played all sports, I played football, basketball, baseball, and track, so I was always doing something. My dad had an impact on that, he wanted me to do baseball but my talent is big on football and he was great football player himself. People always wanted to know if I was going be better than him in high school so that kind of pushed me towards trying to achieve that in football. I started to focus on football and it turned out I really liked it a lot, I love football.”
“I actually started at safety. I messed around a little bit playing quarterback and running back throughout high school and middle school. But after my sophomore year, we lost our top two linebackers because they were seniors. They felt like I was the best fit to move down to linebacker. I had a great year at linebacker my junior year of high school and I’ve just ran with it ever since.”
What’s your favorite part of playing linebacker?
“I just love being in the action. The position I play is kind of a hybrid. It would be boring to not be in the mix. Playing on the inside, I just love being in the mix. I love making plays in the backfield.”
Do you think you fit more in a 4-3, 3-4, or do you think you can play in any defense?
“I mean any defense I can definitely adapt like I did coming into college.”
What was the hardest player/team to prepare for?
“Kent State offense last year (2018). It was my first game going in that I was starting at linebacker the whole season. Had to do a little more studying for that game. So I would say that game as a whole.”
How was the Combine for you?
“It was hectic, but going into it I just wanted to enjoy it since it’s an honor. Only about 300 players get to go. I just wanted to have fun and enjoy it, and I did that.”