Eagles Youngster Reveals ‘Biggest Thing’ Affecting His Future

Davion Taylor

Getty Eagles LB Davion Taylor has been making his impact felt in Year 2 after limited snaps in his rookie season.

Davion Taylor thought he would return for the postseason. His confidence was high and the young linebacker had his fingers crossed that his surgically-repaired knee would heal up ahead of schedule. It didn’t. The Philadelphia Eagles placed Taylor on injured reserve and decided not to rush him back.

The 2020 third-rounder was just hitting his stride when he re-aggravated an old injury in Week 11. Taylor’s season ended with 41 total tackles and two forced fumbles in nine games (six starts). The third-year player was just being handed a bigger role on defense, mostly at the Will linebacker spot, when it all came crashing down.

“It was really disappointing because I realized I was starting to get better,” Taylor told reporters on June 8. “My process was getting better, my movement was getting better. The biggest thing coming off that injury was just making sure I started off where I left off. I feel like my injury was a setback but then again it helped me hone in on my fundamentals. My biggest thing is just not letting it affect me in the future.”

Now Taylor finds himself in a suddenly crowded linebackers’ room. The Eagles signed Kyzir White in free agency, then drafted Nakobe Dean (Round 3) and Kyron Johnson (Round 6). They also spent big money on Haason Reddick, a strong-side linebacker disguised as a pass rusher; and brought returning starter T.J. Edwards back on a one-year deal. No one has a defined role at this point, according to Taylor.

“We’ve just been trying to get better as a group. I haven’t been really thinking about my role or what my role is going to be when the season starts,” Taylor said. “I feel like that’s going to play out itself. If we help each other get better individually, then we can be better as a group. Because you never know how the season is going to go, so we all should be ready to play at any time.”

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Taylor ‘Clicking’ with Fellow Mississippi Native

Taylor knows Dean is technically his competition once training camp opens on July 26. It’s too early to think that far ahead, though. The 23-year-old likes the way the Eagles linebackers have gelled during OTAs. His personal connection with Nakobe Dean — a fellow Mississippi native who grew up about fours away in Horn Lake — has been a fun diversion.

“We’re both from Mississippi, we’re both from the South, so we talk a lot and we both play the same position,” Taylor said, who hails from Magnolia, Mississippi. “Me, personally, I don’t see it as a competition. Right now it’s OTAs so we are just connecting. We’re helping each other out, getting better as a group.”

Ditto for Taylor’s relationship with Kyzir White.

“It’s been a motivation,” Taylor said. “Like, we all know we’re going to compete and everything, but he’s a vet. He’s been in the league longer. I actually ask him questions, there are some things he’ll see that I probably don’t see. By him being in the room I feel like it’s helping me a lot.”

Learning Every Linebacker Position This Year

Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has been cross-training Taylor at all three linebacker spots: Will, Sam, Mike. Player and coach are keenly aware of the value versatility brings to a defense. It’s a universal philosophy that extends to every position on the roster.

“We’re always looking to add really good football players that are versatile, and there are a lot of reasons behind that, one being scheme,” Gannon said. “One being it’s a match-up driven league, so we’re looking to accentuate some of our matchups. It’s always on game day, there are so many jerseys, and you like guys to be able to do a couple different things on game day.”

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