When Todd Davis signed with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent prior to the 2014 season, it was difficult to imagine him becoming a leader on one of the best defenses in the NFL. Fast forward three years and that’s exactly what Davis has become.

The Broncos signed Davis in 2014 when he backed up Danny Trevathan in a crowded linebacking corps in Denver. After Trevathan’s departure, Davis took command of the starting gig for the 2016 season, leading the Broncos with 97 tackles.

In 2017, everyone in the Broncos’ organization seems to have the same feelings towards the fourth-year linebacker: He’s a special player.

“He’s unbelievable. Todd Davis is the type of guy you want to coach on defense,” defensive coordinator Joe Woods said. “He’s playing 100 miles per hour on every snap. Even walk throughs you have to tell him, ‘Hey, slow down, it’s a walk through.’ But that’s his mindset. He’s hungry and he’s out there to prove a point that he can play at a high level in this league. He’s doing a great job so far in this camp.”

It’s more than just his play on the field that has coaches raving about Davis. Like any undrafted player, Davis has an added motivation to prove those who doubted his talent wrong. That chip has also showed in Davis’ leadership, allowing him to become a commander on defense. Head coach Vance Joseph has noticed the leadership Davis has displayed early in training camp.

“Davis has been really, really consistent,” Joseph said. “I’ve been around a lot of good inside linebackers, but as far as leadership, commanding the huddle, toughness and coverage, he is a really, really good player.”

Davis is not the first undrafted player to excel with the Broncos. Undrafted wide receiver Rod Smith is the franchise’s all-time leading receiver. Chris Harris has become one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL after going undrafted. C.J. Anderson became a Pro Bowler after going undrafted. Davis could be the next guy in line to prove that what happens on draft day is far from what defines a player’s career.

“It’s not an exact science. We all make mistakes in terms of the draft process when we’re evaluating players,” Woods said. “Sometimes you hit on guys and sometimes you miss on guys. Then you sign a guy who’s a free agent or a late round draft pick and all of a sudden he turns out to be a stud for you. Todd Davis has proved that. I’m really pleased with where he’s at and he’s really become a leader in his defense.”

Now entering his second year as a full-time starter, Davis and fellow inside linebacker Brandon Marshall are continuing to develop the communication necessary of signal callers on defense. Similar to Davis, Marshall was cut several times before finding his role in Denver, and the two are begin to gel as 2017 approaches.

“That’s what comes with working together with a guy for some time,” Woods said of the linebackers’ communication. “Those guys were together last year. They developed that relationship, the rapport, where they understand what they’re trying to do. They understand how to communicate. It’s really good to have that right now with those two.”