Out of all the prospects entering this year’s draft, none of them have bolstered their stock as much as Jordan Davis has in recent months. He went from potentially going in the top-20 to a top-10, even top-5 pick, in some eyes.
Is the hype warranted, or is Davis just another scouting combine darling? Let’s take a look at his strengths and weaknesses and assess how Davis could potentially fit into the Eagles defensive scheme if he were to get drafted by Howie Roseman.
The first thing most scouts point to when it comes to Davis is his size. He’s legitimately one of the largest humans beings you’ll ever see on a football field. Standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing in at 340 pounds, he’ll instantly be an anchor for any defensive line he plays for.
Davis is damn near impossible to move with just one offensive lineman. When he anchors down and uses his arms to create seperation, he essentially becomes a cement wall. On this play, he faces the Eagles second-round pick from last season, Landon Dickerson, a prospect who was commonly referred to as one of the strongest lineman in last year’s draft class. Davis doesn’t give up any ground on him.
For his immense size, Davis moves extremely well. He’s been seen running down quarterbacks from behind and he does a great job in pursuit of ball carries on the outside. His 4.78 40-time is evident every time you put on the tape.
Against the run, Davis should be elite from day one. He eats up blocks and more often than not he’ll be getting double-teamed, leaving a one-on-one matchup for his fellow interior lineman. He’s not a polished pass rusher for the position — aside from his bull-rush, Davis doesn’t bring much of anything to the table as far as pass rush moves are concerned. But his ability to take on double teams while still plugging up the hole makes the entire defensive line’s job easier.
Davis is not a complete player and he won’t be a perfect fit in every defensive scheme, but the upside is out of this world. With that, there will certainly be a team willing to spend their first pick on him come draft night.
As I alluded to earlier, Davis isn’t much of a pass rusher. During his four-year career at Georgia, Davis only tallied 11 sacks in total. In 2021, Davis posted average grades on the pass rushing front. He recorded a 69.0 pass rush grade and a pass rush win rate of 8.3%, per PFF. But it’s important to note that his ability to push lineman back does shrink the pocket for opposing quarterbacks.
While there are some scouts who believe Davis is scheme versatile, I just don’t see it, at least from day one. He’ll need a defined role in any defense he’s in. As a natural nose tackle who can lineup in the A gap and just eat up oncoming traffic, Davis will undoubtedly thrive. But in today’s pass-happy NFL, even nose tackles are expected to bring some sort of pass rushing prowess to the table. Davis certainly has the physical ability to develop into a fine pass rushing nose tackle, but it’ll take some time.
In the Eagles defensive scheme in particular, Davis is not a perfect fit. The interior lineman in Jonathan Gannon’s defense lineup primarily as a three-tech (outside shoulder of the guard), which allows them to not only eat up blocks, but also create havoc up the field. There will be times where the interior lineman shift towards the A gap, and the Eagles will go with five rushers as the SAM backer bookends. So, there will be times where Davis’ skill set can really work in Gannon’s defense, but more often than not, he’ll be a little out of place.
While his subpar pass rushing ability will hinder how many downs he’s able to play, one aspect of Davis’ game that is a clear red flag is his conditioning. Davis simply can’t play every down and Georgia gave him such a small workload in order to get the most out of him. Fortunately for them, they had multiple first-round talents on their defense to compensate whenever Davis left the field. Because of his conditioning woes, Davis can effectively be neutralized by hurry up offenses.
There is a lot to love about Jordan Davis as a prospect. His size is unmatched, along with his freakish athletic ability. The upside and potential is certainly there and there will be teams that falls in love with him solely based on that.
But for all the upside, there are some red flags that are getting overlooked. Namely is lacking pass rush pallet and conditioning. In regards to the Eagles specifically, I’m not sure how he would fit into their scheme. The team will have the benefit of not playing him on every down because of the depth at the position, but Gannon will have to tweak some of his alignments in order to get the most out of Davis.
At the end of the day, the hype surrounding Davis is a case of just falling head over heels for the potential. Which is to be expected during draft season. He’s 100% a top-20 caliber of player, but for those who project him as a top-5 pick, they’re just assuming his freakish athletic ability will be able to mask some of his deficiencies. That can work at the collegiate level, but the NFL is a completely different beast.
Eagles fans should still be excited if Davis ends up in Philly, but something tells me there will be a team within the top-10 picks who falls in love with the guy.
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