The Eagles need to give Davion Taylor a chance
The emergence of sophomore linebacker Davion Taylor was of the quietest stories coming out of Philadelphia Eagles training camp. The third-round pick saw limited time in his rookie season and did not impress but looked to turn things around this offseason.
When Alex Singleton went on the COVID-19/Reserve list, Taylor took first-team reps and impressed Nick Sirianni and the rest of the coaching staff. Unfortunately, shortly after, he suffered a calf injury that has sidelined him for most of the season. Through the first four games, Taylor had just 18 snaps on defense and looked alright.
On Sunday, Taylor got the most playing time of his NFL career, playing 24 snaps, or 34% of all defensive plays. For reference, in 2020, Davion Taylor played a total of 32 snaps the entire season. Against the Panthers, Taylor demonstrated his elite athleticism and was able to play sideline-to-sideline, something Eagles fans haven’t seen in quite some time.
Taylor finished with three solo tackles, the fourth-most on the team. For someone who played such little time, the stats he put up show he’s capable of playing more snaps for this defense. PFF graded him out at 76.2 with a 72.6 coverage grade. For reference, Alex Singleton had an abysmal 40.1 coverage grade, and Eric Wilson finished with a 55.6
To compare, Davion Taylor was targeted three times by Sam Darnold but only allowed two receptions for 13 yards. Meanwhile, Alex Singleton gave up six receptions for 81 yards, roughly half of the Panthers’ passing yards.
Jonathan Gannon has finally shown a willingness to change things up, and he would be crazy not to give Davion Taylor more snaps going forward. The Eagles linebackers are amongst the worst in football. What reason do you have not to start Davion Taylor?
Alex Singleton is a captain and has the green sticker on defense, sure. But he sure has not been playing like it. He continues to be the most significant liability on this defense every game when surrounded by an elite defensive line and an above-average starting secondary.
Ride the hot hand. The Eagles need every boost they can get if they want to make a push for a playoff spot this season. If things continue like they have against Tampa Bay on Thursday, it’ll be hard to think otherwise about Davion Taylor.
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Eagles