PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles received a great glimpse of their future inside their interior defensive line Sunday in their 37-34 overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills. With Fletcher Cox being sidelined due to injury early into the game, Jordan Davis stepped up in a major way alongside his counterpart Jalen Carter.
Davis played 65 percent of Philadelphia’s defensive snaps on Sunday, which was the second-highest of his career. His impact was felt on the field in noticeable ways and he truly lived up to his reputation as a body eater throughout.
The consensus view around Davis coming out of the 2022 NFL Draft was always not what the mammoth of a nose tackle will do for you in the box score. The vision behind the selection was what he was going to do for the guys around him. And so far, Davis is living up to the task Philadelphia has given him while giving them a look into a future to be excited for.
It’s no secret Davis is the anchor behind the Eagles’ stout run defense. He was even able to make a dominant impact on their performance as a rookie when he was healthy and on the field. The Eagles’ run defense gave up 3.87 yards per carry last year when he was on the field as opposed to 5.10 yards per carry when he wasn’t.
Eagles found their answer against the run
Now, according to ESPN analytics, Philadelphia is 2nd in the league in run-stop win percentage at 34 percent. Davis is the main orchestrator behind the team’s success rate.
The improvement in Davis’ pass-rushing ability has also been on display in 2023. The 23-year-old nose tackle has accumulated 14 total pressures and 2.5 sacks eleven games into the season on 200 pass-rushing snaps. That’s six more than he had his entire rookie season.
Again, Davis showed up big time and passed the eye test with flying colors versus Buffalo, forcing you to view his body of work outside of the box score. According to Next Gen Stats, Davis hit a top speed of 16.9 mph chasing down Josh Allen during the Bills’ final drive in overtime, in open space, and limiting him to only a four-yard gain. This was arguably a game-saving play with what could have been a game-winning touchdown pass to Gabe Davis falling incomplete to follow forcing the Bills to settle for three points.
Another eye-popping play from Davis on Sunday occurred in the Bills’ own end zone. Davis blasted through Buffalo’s offensive line allowing the other Eagles’ defenders to attack running back James Cook for an immediate loss.
Davis finished the day with a career-high 80.2 grade from Pro Football Focus for performance versus the run with a season-high four total run stops. The defensive tackle also did not register a single missed tackle after seeing the field for longer than originally slated.
The box score for Davis will never be anything that jumps out numbers-wise. This is a lesson that should be learned by now. But what will jump out at you about Davis is his ability to be an anchor along the defensive line, especially versus the run.
The NFL world has seen the likes of great nose tackles who anchored their team’s defensive lines while sacrificing individual statistics to the benefit of other defenders around them. Vita Vea, Linval Joseph, Casey Hampton, and Vince Wilfork have carved out successful careers specializing in what Davis is beginning to showcase as a player.
Davis gave the Eagles and their fans a glimpse into their bright future alongside Carter on Sunday. And the outside-the-box score big-time plays have more to come.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire