Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni loves competition. He has creative ways to stew the competitive juices on his team, like challenging players to shooting contests. Sirianni brought a mini basketball hoop to the NFL Scouting Combine – it had a Villanova logo on it — and made prospects play him in a game of Pig.
No, Sirianni seriously did that. And one of the guys he beat was Jordan Davis who the Eagles took on Thursday in the first round. The 341-pounder went shot for shot with the coach but in the end, Sirianni made more baskets.
Game over. Davis took the L. However, the beefy defensive tackle from Georgia made sure to give Sirianni his props after the game.
“You have to give your respect, man,” Davis said on draft night. “When an athlete beats another athlete, they really put in the work, and he spends a lot of time down there and he trains. Maybe next time I see him, we can run it back and get a rematch in.”
Hopefully, that rematch happens this summer at training camp with reporters around to document it. Davis has been described as an “athletic freak” and the steal of the 2022 draft. He rattled off a few other “crazy things” he can do when chatting with reporters on Thursday.
“I do backflips in the pool, jumping off the edge, I don’t know if that counts. Pretty solid at basketball if you want to know,” Davis said. “But other than that, I’m just an athlete. I’ve played sports all my life and I will continue to.”
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Eagles Want ‘Best D-Line in the League’
The decision to draft Jordan Davis at No. 13 was an easy one for general manager Howie Roseman. The Eagles had Davis circled as a Top-10 player on their board and a guy they feel can mentor under fellow defensive tackles Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave.
When asked why he felt so strongly about Davis — the Eagles gave up four picks to trade up and get him — Roseman got brutally honest.
“Jordan was a Top-10 player on our board,” Roseman said. “For us, O-Line, D-Line. We wanted the best O-Line in the league, and we think we are on our way with the players we have on our roster and hopefully continue to add to that. And we wanted the best D-Line in the league. The combinations we can have with the players on our roster, it’s exciting.”
The potential is there but it’s going to take some work. Remember, Davis started in just 33 games over four years at Georgia, while seeing only 38% of the defensive snaps in 2021. His meteoric rise up draft boards was due to insane testing results at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Said Eagles Vice-President of Player Personnel Andy Weidl: “He is unique. There are not many guys that come around with his size, athleticism and explosion and the ability to run. His pro day workout was exceptional. Impressive guy.”
Reunion with Favorite Coach, Learning How to Rush QBs
Davis gets the luxury of seeing a familiar face in the meeting room in Philly. Eagles defensive line coach Tracy Rocker recruited Davis to Georgia back in 2016. While Rocker moved on in 2017 and never got the chance to coach Davis in college, the two remained in contact over the years. That was certainly a selling point.
“You can obviously see the type of work that he does,” Davis said, “and he can put in the work. I’m really excited.”
Meanwhile, the main criticism of Davis has been his ability to rush the quarterback. He was used primarily as a run-stuffer in college, more out of necessity than need. Davis played within the scheme on the No. 2 defense in the country. It worked for everyone there. Now he’ll hone his pass-rushing chops to become a one-man wrecking crew in the NFL.
“My get-off is getting faster. I’m getting after the QB, I’m working bags, and I’m just willing to learn,” Davis said. “It’s definitely going to be a smooth transition. I just have to get in that playbook and learn the nuances of the game.”