A fifth-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, defensive tackle Davon Godchaux has already made his presence felt through the first couple weeks of training camp.
The 6’3” 305-pound rookie out of LSU has been taking some first-team reps from presumed starter, Jordan Phillips, and seems to be in line to earn meaningful snaps once the regular season begins.
While the decision to give Godchaux first-team reps may be a tactic to motivate Phillips as he enters year three as a former second-round pick, Godchaux has caught the eye of the Miami Dolphins coaching staff and should, at the very least, help provide depth to the position with Nick Williams, Julius Warmsley and fellow rookie, Vincent Taylor.
Why he can succeed in 2017
After already making a name for himself in training camp despite not being a high-round draft pick, Godchaux clearly has some of the traits needed in order to be a starting-caliber defensive tackle in the NFL.
If and when Godchaux sees action this season, he’ll be lined up next to Ndamukong Suh who is nearly guaranteed to face most of the double teams on the defensive line, which should create one-on-one opportunities for Godchaux to either make plays at the line of scrimmage – as he showed the ability to do during his time with the Tigers – or create pressure up the middle on opposing team’s quarterbacks while Miami’s feared pass rushers work the edges.
Also, with the newly found depth at the position following this year’s draft, Godchaux likely won’t be rushed into a heavy workload his rookie season so he should remain fresh throughout games and as the season progresses. One of the knocks on Godchaux coming into the league was his stamina as his number of snaps played increased, so a lighter workload should work to his benefit as he begins his career in Miami.
Why he may struggle in 2017
As the case for most first-year players, the speed, schemes, talent and knowledge needed to perform in the NFL is at another level when compared to the college game.
Additionally, another commonality among several pre-draft reports was Godchaux’s size and how it may cause him to struggle some at the next level. He may have issues against double teams and bigger, space-clearing guards, which results in less free gaps for Miami’s linebackers to attack opposing-teams ball carriers – as Dolphins’ fans have seen far too much in recent years.
Odds of making final 53
The combination of being a fifth-round draft pick and already earning meaningful first-team reps in training camp all but ensures Godchaux a place on the team’s final roster.
Even if Phillips ends up starting alongside Suh to begin the regular season, Godchaux should be in line to work his way into the rotation at defensive tackle to get some quality in-game experience his rookie year.