When the Eagles drafted Davion Taylor out of Colorado in the third round this spring, everyone kind of knew the situation.
Because of his mother’s religious beliefs, Taylor barely played high school football and while he was a good player for the Buffs, he was still really raw. The Eagles didn’t draft him with the idea that he’d be a Day 1 starter. They drafted him because of his impressive athleticism and upside.
On Sunday against the Ravens, Taylor got the first 11 defensive snaps of his NFL career and even in that limited time, he showed off that 4.49 speed.
“I would say this,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said, “we did get to see Davion's speed on that one play and that's really not his play, but he saw the quarterback pull the ball and chased, and Lamar Jackson is a tough guy to catch. So we did see Davion's speed on that one.”
On that play late in the fourth quarter, Taylor sprinted across the width of the field and caught up to the league’s reigning MVP. Like Schwartz said, that wasn’t his responsibility on the play and Jackson went for a gain of 21 yards. But the fact that a linebacker was able to chase down Lamar Jackson is pretty impressive.
For now, though, all we really have is a glimpse. The Eagles were forced to play Taylor a little bit on defense Sunday because of their numbers at linebacker in that game. So maybe he’ll get more time the rest of the season, but that’s not guaranteed. For what it’s worth, I’m sure most fans would rather give him the chance to learn on the job than continue to see Nate Gerry and Duke Riley.
If nothing else, though, Taylor will continue to get special teams snaps. He played a new career-high 29 special teams snaps against the Ravens.
On this play, Taylor was actually flagged for running into the punter, but again, you see his explosion. He nearly blocked this punt and he’s going to keep getting chances to do it.
“Davion, he's done a really nice job,” Eagles special teams coordinator Dave Fipp said. “I think a few weeks ago I came up here and told you he had played two core teams for us and the last game he played four core teams for us. He was on all four: punt, punt return, kick cover and kick return.
“He's just getting better and better. The more he plays, the better he gets. He's obviously a younger guy. He doesn't have as much as experience. I think that's well documented, obviously with his high school football and college. He's really doing a nice job for us and he's come along. He had a really nice block on our first kickoff return of the game. So, I would say his game has come along in all areas and we're really excited about him. He does have a lot of speed. We're hoping to see some of that Thursday night here.”
You can question the Eagles’ decision to draft such a raw prospect in the third round. It’s a valid question because Taylor’s ceiling is pretty high but his floor is pretty low. No one really knows if he’ll end up being a star player in this league or even a good one.
But in a game when he got his most NFL snaps, he showed off the traits the Eagles liked so much. If nothing else, that’s a reason to be excited about his future.