Listening to Marlon Davidson speak, he sounds less like the Falcons' newest defensive lineman and more like boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
"I can do it all," Davidson said early in his introductory conference call with Atlanta media. "Coming from off the edge, I can do whatever move you want me to. I just feel like I'm that type of athlete. I feel like I'm that type of player -- when I step on the field, I feel like I'm the best. Going to get the best out of me every snap."
Saying Davidson does not lack for confidence is an understatement, and that's a good thing for the Falcons. Atlanta has taken measures to improve its pass rush this offseason, and injecting a player of Davidson's talent, but more importantly, his mentality, can only help.
On the field, Davidson brings plenty of versatility, which became his calling card throughout his four-year career at Auburn. Davidson mostly worked off of the edge but at 6-foot-3 and weighing 303 pounds, he was more than capable of handling himself on the interior of the defensive line. During his four college seasons, Davidson recorded 174 tackles, 28 tackles for a loss and 14.5 sacks.
Yet despite his improvement, Davidson does not appear capable of satisfaction. It's as though the thing he craves most is the pursuit of perfection and dominance.
"I instill confidence. I instill passion. I instill heart," Davidson said. "I instill everything you want in a football player as a man and everything. That's me. I mean, I wake up every day thinking about being the best. I woke up at four o'clock this morning and couldn't go to sleep because I was mad because I didn't go first round. I'm waking up at four o'clock. I ain't been asleep all day, man. I've been waiting on this call and I got it and now I'm going to give everything I can to the organization. I'm going to give everything I possibly can and leave everything on the field, every game, and show that they did not mess up by picking Marlon Davidson at all; they didn't."
Although he played primarily on the edge at Auburn, the Falcons might have more use for Davidson on the interior next to Grady Jarrett. The combination of Jarrett and Davidson on passing downs would make for a pretty formidable interior rush. Given that interior pressure is exactly the kind that Drew Brees and Tom Brady are most susceptible to, that's not a bad thing for Atlanta to have.
Playing next to Jarrett is something that Davidson, who said he plays with the Falcons on "Madden," would absolutely enjoy. Jarrett a former Tiger, himself, albeit from Clemson, is a role model of sorts for Davidson, who admires how the Falcons' Pro Bowler has earned the respect he's gotten.
"Grady Jarrett, being able to be small in comparison to everybody else -- he wasn't going to be this great player, but you know what I mean? Him showing everybody that he's great," Davidson said. "Man, I watched this every day playing in the game. Of course, I want to play with Grady Jarrett."
And then, being the man of supreme confidence that he is, Davidson had a promise to make for his new city:
"The defense is going to be good next year, I promise you that."
With the No. 47 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons select Auburn defensive tackle Marlon Davidson.