Eagles

Davion Taylor knows he’s raw but refuses to make excuses as a rookie

Davion Taylor knows he’s raw but refuses to make excuses as a rookie

By now you probably already know Davion Taylor’s story. The Eagles’ third-round pick barely played high school football because of his family’s religious beliefs. He spent two years at a JUCO, two years at Colorado and now he’s in the NFL. 

Taylor has rare blend of athleticism and explosion for a linebacker but he’s inexperienced. He’s green. He lacks instincts. The one word most commonly associated with Taylor is one he brought up himself on Wednesday: 

He’s raw. 

And he knows it. 

So what will it take for Taylor to go from being a raw prospect to a real contributor at the NFL level? 

Hard work and dedication,” Taylor said on a Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday. “Being able to know that playbook in and out. I have to be able to just study as much as I can. I might have to lose sleep sometimes to make sure I’m in that playbook and to make sure the next day I won’t make that same mistake from yesterday. Being able to make sure I’m on top of everything. 

“I have little to no room for mistakes. I just feel like I have to push every day and get better every single day because I have to be ready for when the season starts. I shouldn’t have an excuse when the season comes around. 

No excuses. At least not from Taylor. 

Getting to camp 

Taylor said he’s been learning all three linebacker positions in the Eagles’ defense because he wants to be ready for anything. (Learning to play inside will be the biggest departure from what he did at Colorado.) While Taylor gained a lot from the virtual offseason, he admitted he was probably at a disadvantage because he’s more of a hands-on learner. Now, in training camp, he’ll finally get more of that. 

The Eagles, as you might have noticed, are a little light at linebacker heading into the 2020 season. Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley and Alex Singleton are the top returners. Then there’s free agent Jatavis Brown and fellow draft pick Shaun Bradley. Taylor might be raw, but he might also be in a situation where he’s able to earn some playing time as a rookie. 

If nothing else, he figures to be a major piece on special teams. 

“Me, personally, I want to play all the special teams I can and also be on that field,” he said. “I want to do everything I can to contribute to this team and help us win a championship.” 

Playing catch-up

Taylor, 21, had already been doing the extra work at Colorado. Trying to catch up to guys who played football for their whole lives isn’t easy. 

In fact, one of the big things the Eagles wanted to find about Taylor during the pre-draft process was whether or not he was burnt out. They knew how hard he had been working and they wanted to make sure he still had the same fire to continue that in the NFL after he signed his first contract. 

The Eagles got the answer to that question and took Taylor with the 103rd pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. So far, it seems like they were right. 

And you can see why Taylor intrigued them so much. As a pure athlete, he has the potential to be great: 

 

Taylor said the one NFL linebacker that he really watches and tries to emulate is Pro Bowler Deion Jones, who has been the prototypical hybrid linebacker in the modern NFL. If the Eagles end up with a player like that, they’d obviously be thrilled. 

When asked about the knock on him that he lacks instincts because of his limited football background, Taylor conceded that was probably accurate in college. But no excuses in the NFL. He’s determined to do any extra work that helps him overcome his unique background. 

“I can’t really just be using that excuse as a handicap …” Taylor said. “But I use it as a blessing also, because I have a high ceiling and I still have so much more to learn. And I’m willing to learn, I want to learn. I feel like it’s a blessing at the same time.”

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NFL players can be fined for high-risk COVID-19 conduct in 2020

NFL players can be fined for high-risk COVID-19 conduct in 2020

NFL players can be fined for high risk COVID-19 behavior during the 2020 season, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. 

The discipline schedule comes from the agreement between the NFL and NFLPA. 

According to the document, obtained by NFL Network, NFL teams may fine a player one week’s salary and/or suspend that player for up to four weeks for conduct detrimental to the team for engaging in what is considered high-risk COVID-19 behavior. 

There are no written warnings necessary before fines begin. 

According to the document, here are all the details about what constitutes as high-risk behavior: 

1. Attending an indoor night club unless player is wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) and there are no more than 10 people in the club. 

2. Attending an indoor bar (other than to pick up food) unless player is wearing PPE and there are no more than 10 people in the bar. 

a. For clarity, a “bar” does not include an establishment that offers food service and which a player attends primarily for food service even if the establishment also includes a full-service bar. 

3. House gatherings of more than 15 people without the player and all guests wearing masks or PPE or where social distancing for more than 10 people is impossible. 

4. Attending an indoor music concert/entertainment event. 

5. Attending a professional sporting event (other than applicable NFL games or events) unless the player is seated in a separate seating section, such as a suite or owner’s box, is wearing PPE, and there are no more than 10 people in that separate seating section. 

6. Attending an event that is prohibited by state and/or local regulation, executive order or law implemented due to COVID-19. 

It’s important to note that the report from NFL Network says that all Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees of teams are subject to comparable discipline if they violate those rules too. 

Furthermore, the report says Commissioner Goodell may discipline individual teams if they fail to discipline their players for these infractions. 

Without being in a bubble, the NFL is counting on its players acting responsibly to limit the spread of the coronavirus. While all of these things might seem obvious, the added incentive to not get fined might prevent some stupid behavior. 

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Eagles players finally learn NFL's opt-out deadline

Eagles players finally learn NFL's opt-out deadline

If any more Eagles are going to opt out of the 2020 season, they only have until Thursday afternoon to do it.

The NFL and NFLPA have finally settled on 4 p.m. Thursday as the deadline for players to opt out because of health concerns related to COVID-19, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday evening.

Later Monday evening, Schefter reported that the NFL and NFLPA finally jointly approved the CBA provision governing training camp protocols, which formally locks in that 4 p.m. Thursday deadline.

So far, only one Eagle has opted out. 

Wide receiver Marquis Goodwin, acquired in a draft-day trade with the 49ers, announced last Tuesday he was opting out.

League-wide, 48 players had opted out as of Monday evening, including former Eagles Patrick Chung, Chance Warmack and D.J. Killings.

NFL players who opt out who are considered at-risk because of a medical condition will receive a $350,000 stipend in place of their 2020 salary and will earn a year of pension credit toward free agency and benefits.

Players who are considered not at-risk receive a $150,000 advance and do not earn a year of pension credit. If players in this category are not on a roster next year, they will have to  pay back the $150,000. 

All players taking the opt out have their contracts frozen, picking up in 2021 if they remain on the roster.

Originally, the opt-out deadline was going to be seven days after the NFL and NFLPA officially agreed to CBA provisions governing training camp protocols. 

As that date continued to move forward, NFL officials moved to set a concrete date, which did not go over well with at least one prominent NFL player. Patriots safety Devin McCourty said, “It’s an absolute joke the NFL is changing the opt-out period, mainly because they don’t want to continue to see guys opt out,” McCourty told Patriots writers on a Zoom call. “I’m sure they’re shocked how many guys have opted out. I think it’s terrible. It’s BS that the league has changed that date.”

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