Jordan Davis Film Review: Reviewing the rookie’s first NFL action
Standing at six-foot-six and weighing 336 pounds, rookie Jordan Davis is already one of the largest humans in the NFL.
In college, his presence on the field demanded automatic double and sometimes triple teams to prevent him from wreaking havoc. However, transitioning to the NFL game is another beast entirely.
The Eagles first-round pick played 22 defensive snaps in their ever-rotating defensive line while Marlon Tuipulotu saw 29 reps and Milton Williams had 33. Davis mainly lined up over Lions’ center Frank Ragnow in 20 of his 22 plays and handled his own against one of the NFL’s best centers.
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Ragnow, the 20th overall pick in the 2018 draft, went into the 2021 season as Pro Football Focus’ sixth-highest graded center since entering the league. However, after playing in just four games, Detroit placed him on injured reserve with a nagging turf toe injury. Ragnow is a bulldozer in the run game and has allowed only two sacks in 32 games since 2019.
The 2020 second-team All-Pro center provided a formidable matchup for Jordan Davis in his first NFL game. However, in his limited reps, the Georgia product showcased flashes of his dominance and resolved some fixable rookie mistakes. He finished the game with two tackles and two defensive stops in a “Battle of the Titans” against veteran Pro-Bowl center Frank Ragnow.
Before going over the film, Pro Football Focus graded Jordan Davis as the Eagles’ #1 ranked defender (74.3), #1 in run defense (79.5), and #2 in tackling (70.7) against Detroit. Davis showed inconsistencies in pass rush situations, which was well known when Howie drafted him, and he graded as the Birds’ 12th ranked pass rusher (54.7).
The first thing noticeable when Jordan Davis lined up in the middle of Jonathan Gannon’s 5-man front was his impact against the run.
This clip is Jordan Davis’ first true NFL snap as he played on the goal line package for one play the drive before. After Ragnow pulls, he takes Jonah Jackson for a ride down the line of scrimmage to pursue De’Andre Swift.
The next two clips are Jordan Davis one-on-one with Frank Ragnow, displaying a fraction of Davis’ full potential against the run. He fights through the seal and helps Milton Williams make the tackle on Swift.
Davis has surprising quickness, which allowed him to finesse Ragnow and burst into the A gap despite Jamaal Williams running to the strong side of the formation.
This next play is the definition of the Jordan Davis effect.
The Lions protect with six, despite the tight end not blocking anyone, and double Davis with the center and left guard. Watch how Josh Sweat, Fletcher Cox, and Javon Hargrave can get to Goff and almost force a Darius Slay interception.
It wasn’t all beast mode plays for the 13th overall pick. Early in the game, Ragnow welcomed him to the NFL with a good old-fashioned pancake.
When teams decide not to double Jordan Davis on passing downs, he leaves much to be desired. Here are two clips where Ragnow completely neutralizes Davis from the play.
It was only 22 defensive snaps, but the Eagles’ first-round rookie proved his ability in the run game. 2.9 yards per carry compared to 10.0 is astounding, despite what Eliot Shorr-Parks thinks.
The kid carried himself against one of the NFL’s best centers, which seems worthy of giving Davis more snaps. But most importantly, it looks like he will demand automatic double teams against the run and free up some phenomenal pass rushers to obliterate their matchups.
As the season progresses and Gannon figures out a way to properly use Jordan Davis and his defensive line rotations, opposing quarterbacks should fear for their health against this unit.
Photo Credit: NFL.com