After a lackluster rookie campaign, linebacker Davion Taylor showed a lot of growth in 2021.
He started six games, after starting in just one as a rookie, and totaled 41 combined tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and 2 forced fumbles. Taylor still had some pretty clear weak spots in his game, but the development from year one to year two was encouraging.
Well, not encouraging enough for the organization apparently. Howie Roseman actually added real linebackers to his roster this offseason, signing Kyzir White and Haason Reddick along with drafting Georgia standout Nakobe Dean in the third-round of this year’s NFL Draft.
Heading into the offseason, Taylor was primed to start. Now, he may be on the outside looking in.
There’s still a chance for Taylor to start this season if he shows out during training camp. White was only signed to a one-year deal, so the team doesn’t owe him playing time. If Taylor performs better than White during camp, the defensive coaching staff shouldn’t have any issue playing Taylor over White.
During the team’s OTA sessions, Taylor was getting a lot of run with the second team, over the rookie Dean. I still think Dean eventually becomes the primary starter at linebacker for the Eagles this season, but it’s interesting to see Taylor slotted ahead of him right now.
Regardless if Taylor plays a substantial amount this season, he could still very well be in the team’s long-term plans. Along with White, T.J. Edwards is also playing on a one-year deal this season. Both he and White could theoretically be gone next offseason, leaving the door open for Taylor to climb into a starting role.
From a physical/athleticism standpoint, Taylor may be the most athletic player in the Eagles linebacker room. It hasn’t manifested into on-field success just yet, but he’s clearly getting there. When the Eagles initially drafted Taylor back in 2020, we were told he’d be a long-term project at the position. Year three is when we typically see these projects begin to flourish.
The best thing the Eagles have in their linebacking corps right now is versatility. Dean and Edwards are made to play on early downs where they can use their instincts to make plays, whereas White and Taylor are the athletic freaks of the bunch, taylor made to play in space and affect passing lanes. Even if Taylor doesn’t technically start, he should be able to carve out a role for himself in Jonathan Gannon’s defense.
Once camp rolls around, we’ll get a better idea of how Gannon plans to utilize all these skill sets he has at linebacker. Keep an eye on Davion Taylor, he could surprise a lot of fans this year.
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