The Philadelphia Eagles fell just short of the ultimate goal of a Lombardi Trophy in the 2022 season and were somehow able to bring back almost all of their pending free agents in the offseason. A notable exception was defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, who left for San Francisco in free agency. To help fill that gap, the Eagles will look to second-year defensive tackle Jordan Davis, who could be on the verge of a breakout in 2023.
With the two guys anchoring the Eagles’ interior defensive line, Fletcher Cox and Hargrave, both set to hit free agency after 2022, Philadelphia’s decision to draft Davis with the 13th overall pick last year was always one made with the future in mind. And indeed, Davis’ rookie season had the feeling of a developmental year.
The former Georgia Bulldog played as a rotational piece on the defensive line all year, starting just five of his 13 games as a rookie and on the field for just 26% of defensive snaps. Of course, part of the reason for that was an ankle injury that knocked Davis out for three games. But even when he returned, he saw an even fewer number of snaps thanks to the midseason additions of Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh to the defensive line.
During those five starts, which all came before Davis’ injury and the arrival of Joseph and Suh, there were flashes of the high-upside prospect the Eagles hoped they were getting when they drafted him. The 6-foot-6-inch behemoth was a monster run-stuffer on early downs. Even if it didn’t always show up in the box score in the form of tackles for a loss, Davis consistently made a difference. He clogged up running lanes not just by taking up space with his big frame but also pushing would-be blockers into those lanes and the laps of opposing running backs.
Jordan Davis (@jordanxdavis99) destroys the whole run play by driving the center four yards back. Now THAT’S resetting the line of scrimmage! #stoptherun #eagles #flyeaglesfly pic.twitter.com/Pl04Cfynpy
— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) October 13, 2022
On top of the plays Davis did make, he was able to open up opportunities for his teammates as well. Opponents would try to double-team the then-rookie up the middle, only to give guys like Cox the chance to make a play as an unblocked defender.
Jordan Davis takes on the double team giving Fletcher cox a 1 on 1 and he took full advantage. Looked like prime Fletcher cox right there!
Also Jordan did a nice job anchoring and resetting after the initial double team. Still got in on the tackle pic.twitter.com/e6J1ewvmYU
— Nick 🦅 (@PhillyNick100) September 14, 2022
Going into the 2023 season, Davis will have to take on a larger role because of the departure of the more veteran members of the defensive line. Hargrave, Suh, and Joseph are all gone, so Davis will get a higher snap count and more opportunities to make plays in his second season. If he continues to play up to those flashes of talent he showed off during his rookie year, the 2023 season will represent a huge breakout for Davis. If the additional snaps weren’t enough, Davis will get the chance to play alongside former Georgia teammate Jalen Carter again after the Eagles grabbed him in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Everything Philadelphia has done since drafting Jordan Davis has seemed to set him up for success, including the addition of a couple of veterans who helped mentor the rookie last year. This could be the year he really takes advantage.
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