Miami Dolphins’ Jesse Davis: From fixing farm equipment two years ago to starting lineman?

Jesse Davis of the Miami Dolphins looks on during training camp in Davie. (Photo by Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA — Jesse Davis is 6-feet-6, 309 pounds and he sure looks the part an offensive lineman in the NFL.

But Davis had bills to play and when you’re an undrafted free agent cut after your first NFL camp and an entire season goes by without a call, you start to think about what comes next.

For Davis, a Washington native who played at the University of Idaho, that meant a job in farming.

For Davis, that meant working as a service technician for an agriculture and fertilization company.

“It was a good job,” Davis said after a Miami Dolphins practice Tuesday. “I would fix the anhydrous ammonia machines, like those rippers that you use to fertilize the ground. Fixed those. And talked to the farmers and got chemical for them.”

Davis spent time with the Seahawks in 2015. He was signed by the Jets in 2016 but then waived, signed to the practice squad and released again, before catching on with the Dolphins practice squad at the end of last season.

Sometimes Davis would be overheard last season talking with the affable group of Dolphins’ offensive lineman about fishing and hunting. But, for the most part, despite how big he is, he walked around Dolphins camp largely unnoticed.

After Davis was cut by Seattle and began to work in farming, he nearly gave up completely.

“Ups and downs,” Davis said. “It was really like a look in the mirror of, ‘Do you want to go down this road or do you want to do what everybody else does?”

Davis credited his fiance, who encouraged him to to take a trip to the Jets even though he felt it would be more responsible to the family to stay in the farming industry.

“She told me, ‘Take the trip, we’ll be fine,'” Davis recalled Tuesday.

As for why Davis was popular with Dolphins reporters on a Tuesday afternoon in Philadelphia?

Well, Davis is projected to start at left guard for Miami in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Eagles. Davis also started Miami’s last preseason game, at home against the Ravens.

Because of a long-term injury to Ted Larsen and possibly a shorter-term injury to Kraig Urbik, Davis is next man up.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Davis said. “I hope I can hold onto it and really help this team out.”

Dolphins coaches feel they may have discovered a diamond in the haystack.

“I think he has just put his head down and kept working,” Miami coach Adam Gase said. “We were actually talking about it probably about two weeks ago about how he has really improved in the weight room. His knowledge of the offense is as good as anybody else. It doesn’t seem too big for him.”

Center Mike Pouncey, who is scheduled to make his preseason debut on Thursday, said Davis can perform well.

“I like Jesse,” Pouncey said. “Jesse’s a strong football player at the point. He’s a smart guy. He really plays the game at a speed you’re supposed to play and I think he’s done a lot of great things for offense to deserve those first team reps.”

Guard Jermon Bushrod said he noticed Davis’ overall strength last season.

“It’s not about how you get here; it’s about what you do when you get the opportunity,” Bushrod said. “When you see a guy who’s been on the practice squad and he starts having the opportunity to get some reps with the ones, you’ve gotta be excited for him.”

Anthony Steen and Jake Brendel are also in line to see some snaps at left guard. And the Dolphins could always add a veteran.

But that Gase said this week Davis “has got a legitimate shot” was revealing.

Davis played much of his career at Idaho as a defensive lineman and has taken most of his NFL snaps at tackle.

“I just keep grinding out here,” Davis said. “The preseason is still a long ways away (from being) over, so (I) just keep doing what I’ve been coached to do. I’ve just been fortunate enough to get the opportunity to play.”

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