Success comes in bunches, even if it is sometimes completely random. Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Davion Taylor was featured in a recent episode of Jeopardy in a clue asking about religion.
The answer – Jeopardy calls questions answers, duh – read: “NFLer Davion Taylor Held Onto His Football Dreams Though This Christian Faith Kept Him From Playing High School Football.” None of the contestants buzzed in with the correct question.
Instead, host Mayim Bialik informed the quiz show panel that Taylor was forbidden to play football on Friday or Saturday nights due to his observance of the Seventh Day Adventist Sabbath. It’s a true story, one fueled by a deep religious belief and family values.
Taylor’s story was told and retold multiple times during the 2020 NFL draft. His mom, Stephanie, eventually relented and let him change his observances. He played college football at Coahoma Community College, then moved on to the University of Colorado.
The Eagles selected him in the third round (103rd overall). Taylor explained his journey to the pros immediately after getting drafted on April 24, 2020.
“So, the deal was once I turned 18 it was my decision,” Taylor said. “I didn’t really just want to abandon my religion, so once I tried out for my community college, I actually prayed one night and everything. I was like, if it’s meant for me to make a team, let me make this team, let me make this team. If it’s not, don’t let me make this team.
“So, when I made the team I felt like it was just God’s sign that he was on my side this whole time, so I accepted that part, and I was like, I’m still going to have a religion and when I come home I’m going to go to church on Saturdays and everything. But I wanted just to continue to practice my religion while I was at it, and that’s what I did.”
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Taylor Impressing Nick Sirianni
It’s been tough sledding to get Taylor up to speed through his first two seasons in the NFL. The 23-year-old suffered a knee injury late in his rookie year while trying to make a play on a punt return, then injured his calf at 2021 training camp.
Taylor has 20 total tackles in 15 games (one start) over two seasons, mostly on special teams. But the 230-pounder finally seems to be turning the corner after seeing a career-high 23 defensive snaps in Week 5. Head coach Nick Sirianni hinted at a bigger role for him moving forward.
“He was really showing up in OTAs and in training camp, and really showing good ability and explosive play-making ability,” Sirianni told reporters. “So, we really wanted to be able to play him early and often and just he got injured. He was out for an extended period of time, but we were really high and hopeful on Davion right from the very beginning. It’s just good to have him back and good to have him rolling through everything.”
Adjusting to Same Speed, Strength
Taylor had been used to dominating with his physical traits in college. When he got to the NFL, the Mississippi native noticed that everyone had similar speed, athleticism, and strength. He needed to put in extra work in the film room to stand out.
“Everybody is strong. Everybody is fast. Everybody is alike,” Taylor told reporters on August 25, 2020. “I just have to pay attention to the details. It ain’t all about just trying to run to the ball and go out of my way to make a play. It’s all about doing my assignment, like if I hit the A gap, staying in the A gap until the ball break and then I can go chase the ball. It’s not just go find the ball and make a play.”