Noah Dawkins arrived at One Jets Drive in late July as a holdover from the Adam Gase era.
The linebacker played in just five games with New York last season and made little impact. With a new defensive regime in place, Dawkins' chances of staying with the Jets seemed non-existent.
After working with the backups in New York's preseason opener, Dawkins saw an extended run with Jeff Ulbrich's first-team defense against the Packers. That was before Davis went down; the Jets likely wanted a more thorough evaluation of the 24-year-old Dawkins. The Jets are now suddenly in need of linebacker depth and Dawkins profiles as a natural fit to fill the void.
"I think Dawk's done a really nice job," Robert Saleh said after New York's win over the Packers. "He's had a 180 since OTAs. He's been extremely detailed. He's been getting extra meeting time. He's been more consistent with his responsibility and when he's on it and his eyes are right and his feet are in the ground, the kid can flat out fly - especially with our defense where we're asking guys to shrink the field and suffocate an offense."
Dawkins has just one tackle in 15 career NFL games, but as Saleh said, his skill set is an obvious fit in New York's new defensive scheme. Dawkins ran an official 4.41 40-yard dash with a tweaked hamstring before the 2019 NFL draft. He has showcased his ability to make plays from sideline to sideline this summer.
The Jets aren't asking Dawkins to step into Davis' starting spot. That responsibility will likely fall on the shoulders of rookie Jamien Sherwood. All New York needs is for Dawkins to be a reliable rotation piece, which is a role he has already proven he can play.
"Sherwood's been doing a really nice job, so we're expecting him to slide in and pick up where Jarrad left off," Saleh said Monday. "He's been having a really nice camp and it's an opportunity for him to step up and take on a bigger role. With regard to that linebacker group, we're really excited about that unit."