Jordan Davis is bringing more than just his massive 6-foot-6, 340-pound frame to the Philadelphia Eagles. This isn’t your average everyday 300-plus-pound nose tackle. Davis has the chance to be a special football player, and he may have found himself in the most advantageous situation for that ‘chance’ to materialize and manifest its-self.
In recent years, NFL defenses have shifted to more two high coverage shells (two safeties deep). The game continues to evolve and in order to protect against the aerial assaulting passing offenses of today, teams are dropping the extra defender that they’d usually have down in the box, back deep.
But as a result, this has left fewer players in the box which makes it much easier to run on or utilize the play-action passing game.
The Eagles utilized two high soft zone coverages ad-nauseum in Jonathan Gannon’s inaugural year as defensive coordinator. It was routinely a topic of discussion.
In Gannon’s first year as defensive coordinator, the Eagles were seemingly attempting to execute what Gannon wanted to do without the proper personnel. The presence of Jordan Davis changes that.
Davis is a massive human being. Standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing north of 340 pounds, he is a player that opposing offenses have to keep in mind when game planning. His size, power, strength, and speed combination are rare. Davis is truly an immovable object.
In the running game, Davis is at his best. He can occupy two gaps, shed blockers, and pursue and wrap up ball carriers. He clears up things for his teammates, while he himself is also a force to be reckoned with.
In the passing game is where it gets a bit murky. Davis’ hand quickness, strength, and ability to collapse the pocket with bull rushes are all tools he has in his arsenal when rushing the passer. However, I’d be remiss to not mention the elephant in the room.
Davis’ pass rush production has been discussed at length throughout the draft process. He played over 600 pass-rush snaps, but only amassed 30 pressures throughout his 4-year career at The University of Georgia.
It’s an element worth paying attention to, nevertheless, when you look at what Davis can do for those around him, the concern lessens a bit.
Enter former teammate and Eagles draft-class mate, Nakobe Dean, who won the Butkus Award for the nation’s best linebacker. Dean was able to operate cleanly, shoot gaps and wrap up tacklers, due to the chaos created by Davis.
Remember how I said earlier, that you can’t block him one-on-one. With Davis holding his blocks and essentially walling off offensive linemen from getting up into the second level. That means the linebackers will be able to roam free and attack.
Last season before the Eagles began bringing an extra player down into the box consistently, the Eagles struggled with stopping the run early on. Former linebacker Eric Wilson flamed out, Alex Singleton tried his best, Davion Taylor couldn’t stay healthy, and T.J. Edwards was clearly the best of the bunch.
The addition of Davis will make life better for Dean, free-agent acquisition Kyzir White, and the returning T.J. Edwards. Davis will truly be a linebacker’s best friend.
Philosophically, Davis will transform what Jonathan Gannon will be able to do in terms of schematics. He adds the much-needed nose tackle (head up over the center 0-Tech), while also being able to play anywhere from the 0-tech to the 3-tech. He gives the Eagles optionality in the types of defensive fronts they will be able to implore. Hybrid fronts are now a realistic possibility in Philadelphia and they may actually be happening. The optimal lens to view the selection of Davis is not only what he can bring to the franchise but what he does for those around him as well.
Davis will have the luxury of learning from Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. He’ll be able to refine his pass-rushing skills for a year with NFL-level coaching and not be asked to do it right off the bat. He’ll be able to gradually work his way into an NFL-level workload and work with one of the best training staffs in the NFL led by V.P. of Player Performance Ted Rath, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Fernando Noriega, and V.P. of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Tom Hunkele.
Jordan Davis is entering (in my opinion) the best possible situation for him in year one. There are well-known pass rush and conditioning concerns. But equally, Davis adds what the Eagles lacked last year and the Eagles can provide Davis with an advantageous situation to foster gradual development in year one that could be the genesis of an All-Pro/Perennial Pro-Bowl career.
Photo by Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire