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September 15, 2023

Jordan Davis wants to be more than just a run-stuffer

Eagles defensive tackle Jordan Davis was always going to have a role stopping the run. He's now showcasing his pass-rushing upside.

Eagles NFL
Jordan-Davis_Eagles_Vikings_091423-2.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Jordan Davis was a total beast Thursday night.

Jordan Davis was always going to have a role in the NFL. At worst, he'd carve out a nice career as an effective nose guard in the run game. The Eagles didn't trade up for Davis in the first round of last year's draft, however, to merely stuff the A-gap. Davis, who totaled seven sacks in 37 collegiate games at Georgia, had the potential to be much more than that.

Two games into his sophomore season in the NFL, Davis is showcasing what his pass-rush upside looks like. 

Standing at 6'6" and weighing in at 336 lbs., the 23-year-old has, frankly, an unparalleled size-speed combination. That may have lended to his conditioning issues as a rookie, but in 2023, Davis is playing the part of a budding star. He recorded his first career sack in Week 1 up in Foxboro and forced a fumble on long-time Philly nemesis Ezekiel Elliott. With a defensive tackle rotation that's absolutely feasting right now between Davis, Fletcher Cox, Jalen Carter and Milton Williams, seeing the Eagles on the schedule is crushing news for opposing centers and guards.

Davis continued that trend in the Eagles' Thursday Night Football win over the Vikings, totaling six tackles and a half-sack. His play of the night was crushing Kirk Cousins on a Minnesota third down that forced an incompletion and an ensuing punt. Davis, lining up as a three-tech DT, hit Vikings guard Ezra Cleveland with a rip move that had the offensive lineman spinning before laying into Cousins:

If you think stepping on your kids' Legos is pure pain, imagine that dude charging at you and planting you on your ass.

What does Davis think about his Year 2 turn?

"I'm still never satisfied, just getting more tools, just keep adding tools to my toolbox," Davis told PhillyVoice after the Eagles-Vikings game. 

"I'm getting inside my mind that I'm more than a run-stopper. I'm more than a gap-stuffer. Just go out there, put one foot in front of the other, work your hands, watch film, that's the most important thing. Know their tendencies."

What's striking is that Davis probably would've had a bit less pressure on him this season to become a true superstar defensive tackle given the arrival of his former college teammate Jalen Carter. Everyone, deservedly so, raved about Carter's play all summer and he was a game-wrecker against the Patriots last weekend. Carter was the presumed best player in the 2023 NFL Draft before his legal issues reared their head. Davis would've simply needed to be "good" to get high marks this year, but he's taken his game to a level unexpected so soon.

It's not that he's just excelling at these pass-rushing reps. He wasn't getting this type of playing time last year at all in obvious passing downs. That was the spot for Cox and departed veterans Javon Hargrave, Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph. He's no longer just a projection. He's a 23-year-old dude making life hell for o-linemen in both the run and the passing game. 

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