You know that feeling all too well. You can’t sleep. Your brain is buzzing while your gut is turning. The nervousness and excitement that precedes your first day of work is what Jamin Davis experienced for the first time in the National Football League ahead of the Washington Football Team’s rookie minicamp.
“When I first woke up this morning I was little jittery for sure, but once I put my helmet on and finally got a chance to get out there and run around a little bit, everything just started to settle in and I started to feel like myself,” Davis told reporters.
The former Wildcat linebacker was Washington’s first round draft pick at No. 19 overall. He signed a 4-year deal worth $13.8 million ahead of the two-day camp that head coach Ron Rivera used as an introduction to his team’s culture.
“These are teaching opportunities. These are learning opportunities,” Rivera said. “We don’t need to see anybody go out there and get into any smash mouth football. We don’t need that. What we need is guys working on their techniques, getting a better feel and understanding of our philosophy on offense, defense and special teams. This is a time for growth and development more than anything else. We want to make sure guys are here for the right reason, in terms of development, also more than anything else.”
Davis experienced a few learning opportunities. We often share stories of a freshman’s “Welcome to the SEC” moment. Davis experienced a little bit of that once the competitive juices started flowing on the field.
“One of the main things was I kept trying to get my hands on routes but I had to remember that I can’t blitz as many routes if it’s passed five yards, just stuff like that,” he laughed. “It’s the minor details that I had to get used to, but other than that, I just started to get more comfortable.”
It turns out that players in the NFL are in fact bigger, faster and stronger than college athletes. There’s still plenty of time for Davis to learn what it will take to be successful on Sundays. For now, he’s just happy to focus all of his time and energy on improving.
“It was almost like a sigh of relief that I finally got all of that extra, outside noise out of the way and finally got a chance to get out there and just play some ball,” Davis said. “This is just day one of a long journey for me.”