The wait is nearly over. Football season is upon us and the Philadelphia Eagles look like a team poised to burst out of the gate and turn some heads. While there are plenty of explosive names on the offensive side of the ball, there’s one dominating presence on the defense who may well become an X-Factor as the season goes on. That man is first-round selection, Jordan Davis.
Jordan Davis and the Eagles are a match made in heaven
Jonathan Gannon’s defense was questionable at best in 2021. Some thought it was the scheme, others, the lack of players who fit his vision, but the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Adding a player like Jordan Davis, who can not only anchor the defensive line as a nose tackle, but also rush the passer and line up just about anywhere along that front, is a game changer for a defense that clearly craved those elements last year.
Standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing close to 350 lbs pounds, Davis cannot be ignored by opposing coordinators. He isn’t just a big body. He moves like a bigger defensive end, has the power of a nose tackle, and the build of an offensive one. His presence alone is going to open things up for guys like Hasson Reddick, who will face far more one-on-one matchups while Davis mauls through anyone in his path and draws double teams.
A strong summer from an even stronger leader
Jordan Davis was expected to hit the ground running this summer, but he burst out of the gate like a raging bull. Drawing praise at every turn, the Georgia product looked monstrous from the outset and decimated anyone in his way during camp.
This even included fellow rookie, Cam Jurgens, who was pushed violently off his spot in a drill at Lincoln Financial Field in front of the Eagles faithful. Video of the drill caught social media by storm and quickly went viral. Jordan’s response to this wasn’t arrogance or acknowledgment of his own prowess. Instead, he stated how he hated that the clip went viral because it was an unfair representation of Jurgens.
The humility and leadership demonstrated by Jordan Davis at such an early stage in his career is impressive, but all you had to do was look between the lines to see it coming. He was one of four permanent team captains as a Georgia Bulldog, as voted by his teammates.
Davis is wise beyond his years and more athletically gifted than most. He has the launchpad for a truly generational NFL career and it’s hard for anyone to really disagree with that when looking at how ruthless he was at the collegiate level. But just how much is he going to shine as a rookie?
The only real obstacle in Jordan’s way is the current depth chart. The Eagles are still fielding the starting duo of Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave which leaves Davis on the secondary pairing with second-year player, Milton Williams. It would be very easy to see a world where after a few weeks, Gannon starts leaning on his prized rookie more and more. Cox has slowed down a little from a production stand point over the past few years and while much of his paydirt is done away from the spotlight, the Eagles may want to deploy packages to utilize their more vicious pass-rushers. This would likely require Davis to swallow up double teams, or at least command enough attention to give one of his teammates a real shot at the QB.
There’s no questioning that Davis will be an X-Factor for the Eagles in 2022. The only question is how long it takes for him to become a regular fixture in the starting quarter as opposed to having to wait for either a specialized package suited to his strengths, or when someone like Cox needs a minute.
It shouldn’t take long, and there is a clear path where the Eagles can ease Jordan Davis into their defense without the pressures of having to deliver instantly. Because of this, we’ll likely see more splash plays early on that generate the kind of momentum that will spring him into playing 60%+ of defensive snaps per game by the heart of the regular season.
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