How does new DT Jordan Davis fit into the Eagles’ defensive scheme?
The Philadelphia Eagles went out and solidified their defensive line during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, selecting Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis.
Davis was an indifferent pick amongst Eagles fans, but his upside is tremendous. Standing at 6’6 and weighing over 340 pounds, David dazzled at the combine, running a 4.78 40-yard-dash.
Some analytics had his performance as the second-best at the event ever, trailing just Calvin Johnson.
While he looks unstoppable on the surface, scouts have had some concerns about his production. The worrisome part of Davis’ game is his motor. Since he’s so massive, there have been instances where he’s looked gassed on late-drive situations, standing straight-up in the pass rush.
Luckily for him, the Eagles’ tremendous depth on the defensive line should help this out as he transitions into the NFL. Jonathan Gannon will almost certainly implement consistent rotations on the defensive line, likely running two different units that switch every two plays.
At this time, here’s how the Eagles’ D-Line shapes out
Starting Defensive Line
- DE Haason Reddick
- DT Fletcher Cox
- DT Javon Hargrave
- DE Josh Sweat
- DE Brandon Graham
- DT Jordan Davis
- DT Milton Williams
- DE Derek Barnett
Based on how things go, I could see Gannon switching up Cox and Davis, but it’s likely he will be with the second unit as the season gets started.
Davis’ floor, at the very least, is being an elite run-defender in the trenches. During his time at Georgia, he lined up as a nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. Philly will likely run a 3-4 hybrid primarily but could easily switch to a 5-2 to maximize their strength upfront.
Javon Hargrave has also been known to be an elite NT, which is another reason why it makes sense to have Davis run with the second unit. It allows the Eagles to space out their run-first defenders, pairing them with elite pass rushers.
In 2022, Davis was quiet in pass rush, recording only two sacks over 14 games. His lack of skill in that area is overblown, with his lack of stats due to the elite edge rushers around him and sticking to his responsibilities.
Just like at Georgia, Philly just will need him to stick to what he does best to start, clogging the A and B gaps on every play. Of course, he’s capable of more and will show that over time, but since Reddick, Sweat, and Graham will surround him, there’s no need to force a change so quickly.
Long-term, the Eagles have their replacement for Cox, and have an elite core moving forward between Reddick, Davis, Hargrave, Sweat, and Williams. The future is bright in the trenches for Philadelphia.
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