Davion Taylor’s development in his second year is a fantastic surprise for the Eagles
Sold as a “raw prospect” in the third round of the 2020 draft, Davion Taylor had all the physical tools to develop into a potential NFL starter. At 6-0, 230 pounds, the Colorado product recorded a 35″ vertical, a 6.96 second 3 cone drill, and a 4.49-second forty-yard dash.
He was the prototype of what NFL teams covet in a modern NFL linebacker, but still very new to football in general.
Since joining the Eagles, Taylor’s learning curve has been steep after only seeing the field on defense 32 total times in 2020 while primarily contributing on special teams coverage.
However, since Week 6 of this season, Davion has averaged 43 defensive snaps per game as the Eagles’ staff tries to mix-and-match the right combination of linebackers.
Over the past two weeks, it’s been TJ Edwards and Davion Taylor getting the most reps, while Alex Singleton’s snaps have gone down from 62 in Week 6 to just 28 in Week 9. It seems the Eagles staff demoted Singleton to a sub-package linebacker and special teamer, which is where he should have been all along.
Since receiving more snaps at off-ball linebacker, Davion Taylor has proven to be way ahead of schedule in his development. Here’s where he ranks on the Eagles’ defense from Weeks 6-9:
14 solo tackles (6th)
10 assists (Tied 2nd)
6 STOPs (Tied 5th)
0 missed tackles (Tied 1st)
Taylor is a heat-seeking missile when the ball carrier is in his sights. He shows some shades of Bobby Boucher if someone mentions Gatorade when tackling in the open field.
While Davion has not missed a tackle in run defense, he’s had six in pass coverage. The most challenging transition for the late bloomer to football has been understanding zone concepts. Taylor has a rock bottom 35.6 coverage grade on the Eagles defense (from Weeks 6-9).
17 targets (2nd most)
16 receptions (Tied 1st most)
163 yards allowed (2nd most)
6 missed tackles (1st)
With Gannon primarily running zone coverage, Davion still looks lost on occasion. However, he’s committed 0 penalties during those weeks and has 4 STOPs in the passing game. Even though Taylor’s given up 163 yards through the air, he’s only allowing 10.2 yards per reception which is the 4th lowest on the team.
With all those attempts thrown his way, Taylor has stood his ground and not sacrificed the big play like another linebacker on the team with long hair.
There is still a lot to improve in Davion Taylor’s game. But in only his second year in the NFL and drafted as a developmental pick, “The Waterboy” has excelled in run defense and is making strides with his pass coverage. That’s all you can really ask for with the Eagles’ current linebacking unit.
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Eagles
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