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How Jarrad Davis made the most of his unique offseason

It was anything but a normal offseason for players across the NFL.

Detroit Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis was set on making the most of the unusual circumstances players faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Davis turned his home basement into a home gym, and said he worked harder this offseason than he ever has. He reduced his body fat percentage to under 10 percent and is currently a solid 245 pounds after previously playing around 238 pounds.

"Short version, I worked out for about 20 weeks this offseason and I took maybe two weeks off," Davis said of his offseason regimen in a Zoom call with reporters Tuesday. "I ate super clean and I just really pushed my body to a limit it hasn't been ever. My body has never felt this good."

Both he and the Lions are hoping his physical transformation off the field this offseason leads to more consistency on the field when the season starts.

Davis was a first-round draft pick by the Lions in 2017 and has been the team's starting MIKE linebacker the last three seasons with mixed results. He's shown flashes of terrific production and playmaking ability, but also some inconsistencies, especially when it comes to defending the pass.

View photos from workouts during Detroit Lions Training Camp presented by Rocket Mortgage on Aug. 4, 2020.

Davis said it took a lot of two-a-days and hard work to transform his body the way he did this offseason. He also admitted to pushing himself so hard and to the brink of sometimes wanting to quit the regimen altogether. But he continued to push through and thinks that will help him not only physically, but also mentally come the regular season.

"It's gonna help me just stay focused and learn how to just be locked in in pressure situations throughout the season," he said. "Yeah, I made a physical transformation, but I feel like I'm mentally more available and mentally better than I've ever been in my entire life."

Through three seasons, Davis has logged 259 total tackles,10 sacks, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one interception. Only a handful of defenders have that kind of production through their first three seasons, but Davis has also been ranked toward the bottom in the league's analytics for pass coverage at the position.

It's an area he's said he needs to be more consistent in, and that's partly why he started the physical transformation. He's hoping a stronger, faster and more mentally locked in version of himself is a better overall player, one who can become more of a three-down player than the mostly two-down role he previously played in Detroit's defense.   

The Lions have a crowded linebacker room with Christian Jones and last year's second-round pick, Jahlani Tavai back in the fold. The team also added to the position in free agency with veterans like Jamie Collins Sr. and Reggie Ragland.

Detroit declined the fifth-year option on Davis' rookie contract making him an eligible free agent after the season. There's plenty of motivation for Davis to have his best season in 2020.

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