The Philadelphia Eagles are losing one of their top rookies for the rest of the year after placing linebacker Davion Taylor on injured reserve. The third-round pick (103rd overall) out of Colorado suffered a knee injury last week against the Green Bay Packers. He may require surgery.
Taylor, a raw, athletic prospect coming out of college, was slowly earning himself more snaps in recent weeks and starting to really shine on special teams. He made a jarring hit on a punt return in Week 12 and a highlight-reel hustle play in Week 6 chasing down Lamar Jackson. Taylor’s rookie year will end with 210 total snaps (32 defense, 178 special teams) and 10 tackles. He was hurt trying to make a play in coverage on a punt return and eventually ruled out.
Head coach Doug Pederson declared on Monday that Taylor was going to “miss some time” and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz talked about rotating some of the younger guys into the linebacker rotation. Remember, T.J. Edwards is nursing a hamstring injury and Nate Gerry remains on IR after undergoing surgery on his Achilles. Look for rookie Shaun Bradley to see an increased role.
“Puts a little bit more on the guys that are healthy that can get out there,” Schwartz told reportters on Tuesday. “It also, just the way it goes with linebackers, those linebackers are always on all the special teams plays, and when you do get some injuries, like in this game we had a couple injuries in the game, it put more responsibility on guys that had to go cover kicks and play every snap on defense.”
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Eagles Promote DT Raequan Williams
The Eagles also promoted undrafted rookie Raequan Williams to the active roster on Wednesday. The 6-foot-4, 308-pounder has been elevated from the practice squad twice this season and actually made three tackles on 22 snaps last week against the Green Bay Packers. Williams had been called a “soft-spoken monster” and “undrafted rookie free agent steal” for the Eagles following the NFL draft.
He logged 160 tackles (29 for loss) and 11.5 sacks in 50 career games at Michigan State, including 42 consecutive starts at nose tackle to end his college career. That’s the best mark of the Mark Dantonio era at the school, plus his 29 tackles for loss rank tied for 16th most in Spartan history.
Jason Peters, Alshon Jeffery Being Benched?
The Eagles might be benching two more players this week: right guard Jason Peters and receiver Alshon Jeffery. The moves haven’t been made official but it sure sounded like a youth movement is underway in Philly. Peters left last week’s game due to a lingering toe injury and Jeffery seemed to re-aggravate something in his foot. Both players are question marks.
“Well, with those two guys I got to see today just how they’re feeling,” Pederson told reporters on Wednesday. “I know both those guys are sore and I haven’t made a firm commitment yet either way. So, it could be another change, it’s always a possibility.”
There’s a growing sense that the team may just want to play its younger guys over the aging veterans anyway. Matt Pryor or Nate Herbig would be in line to take over at right guard, with Travis Fulgham seeing more snaps in Jeffery’s absence. It would also open up increased workloads for John Hightower and possibly Quez Watkins at receiver.
“Like I said, we’ll have the next guy up,” Pederson said. “We’ll have them ready to go and hopefully these guys get healthy this week and can give us something in the game.”