The Eagles’ linebackers are bad. We all know that by now. And through four games in 2021, the consistently bad linebacking corps for Philadelphia has once again become the clear weakness of their defense.
We can talk about how much this front office devalues the position, but Howie Roseman did draft a linebacker just last year in the third round. He was heralded as a project at the position, but it’s about time Davion Taylor gets more playing time in Jonathan Gannon’s defense.
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Early in training camp, he was actually getting snaps with the first-team defense. But a calf injury put Taylor at the bottom of the depth chart, as the injury held him out for all of camp and the first week of the season. Now that he’s fully healthy, there’s no reason to keep him off the field.
He brings great potential to the position. What really dragged him down in his rookie season was his football IQ, but the athletic traits were always evident. A full offseason of work under his belt should at least have him in a mental state where he can confidentially start for this team.
It’s not like any of the starters are holding off the young buck with their play either. Alex Singleton and Eric Wilson have got the majority of playing time at linebacker. They’ve both been awful. Wilson has a PFF grade of 30.1 on the year, lowest of any qualifying linebacker. Singleton’s grade isn’t much better, earning a 39.0 mark (71st out of 81 LBs) on the year.
Taylor has only played 18 defensive snaps this season, but in those limited reps, he did quite well. His PFF grade for the year sits at 78.2, which is the highest among any Eagles backer by far.
Taylor may not be the answer at linebacker long-term, but he’s certainly better than what the team has right now. And who knows, maybe he is the answer and he’s just wasting precious development time sitting on the bench.
The Eagles just need some juice in the middle of their defense, and Taylor could potentially provide that. At just 23 years old and with a wealth of athletic ability, why not play Taylor? The worst that could happen is the organization finds out he’s not the guy. Best case, he ends up being a staple in this defense for years to come.