Why Eagles think Jordan Davis is much more than a run-stuffer


It might not be wise to trade up two spots to take a run-stuffing nose tackle with the 13th overall pick in the NFL Draft.

But the Eagles think Jordan Davis can be more than that.

Much more than that.

Sure, the 340-pound defensive tackle was asked to stop the run at Georgia and he did that at an extremely high level for the national champions. He did his job. But given his insane athletic profile, the Eagles also think he has plenty of untapped pass rush potential.

“He is unique,” Eagles vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl said. “… 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.”

Instead of letting the board fall to them on Thursday night, the Eagles traded up from 15 to 13 — giving up a 4th and two 5ths in the process — to draft Davis, the Chuck Bednarik Award winner as the best defensive player in college football. They’ll add him to a defense that already includes Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Milton Williams inside, creating a lethal rotation.

There’s some obvious risk in projecting that the 22-year-old Davis will become a much better pass rusher at the NFL level. But this isn’t a boom-or-bust pick either. The floor with Davis is that he’ll be an elite-level run-stuffing defensive tackle in the NFL.

The upside is that he’ll be an elite-level run-stuffer and also a terror for offensive lines who can move that pocket as a pass rusher because of the athleticism he showed off at this year’s combine. Given his size, Davis is one of the more incredible athletes we’ve ever seen.


This is a 6-6, 340-pound nose tackle who ran a 4.78, had a vertical jump of 32 inches and a broad jump of 10-3. He filled up his spider chart, which compares his athletic traits to other prospects:


His unique profile makes it really tough to even compare Davis to anyone else. The Eagles got a 1-of-1 player.

So why does Davis think he’ll be better at rushing the passer in the NFL?

“My get-off is getting faster,” Davis said on a Zoom call with Philadelphia reporters on Thursday night. “I'm getting after the QB, I'm working bags, and I'm just willing to learn. You have great guys in the defensive room that can teach you little tools and can teach you a lot of things. Schematically, we're similar to what we were doing in Georgia. So, it's like going into the same place with the same playbook, it's just different terms. It's definitely going to be a smooth transition. I just have to get in that playbook and learn the nuances of the game.”

Davis averaged just 25.2 snaps per game during the 2021 season on a Georgia defense that ended up with five first-round picks in 2022 and another potential top 10 pick in Jalen Carter next year.

The evaluations for these Georgia players was tough in a way. The unit was so great that each player had a very specific role. Davis was asked to maximize his 25 snaps per game and stuff the run. He did it.

But you have to ask the questions: Is that all he can do? Or … does his athleticism project him to have a different and bigger role at the next level?

The Eagles are banking on the latter.

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The Eagles think Davis can be a more complete player at the NFL level and contribute to their pass rush. Weidl also pushed back against the idea that Davis can play just the nose.

"A guy like that he keeps you strong down the middle of your defense," Weidl said. "And having that strength down the middle of your defense is critical. It starts inside, it starts at the point.

"And then I think also I wouldn't limit him to just the point. The guy has the ability to move and play different spots along the defensive line. He has that type of athleticism, the length, the speed and the lateral quickness to do that."

All that said, they’re also going to let Davis do what he does best, what made him a first-team All-American and a centerpiece of the best defense in the country.


They're going to ask him to stop the run.

“Being a run defender is what my bread and butter is,” Davis said. “That was the first thing I learned at the University of Georgia. Just being a run defender, being stout in the middle, making sure I could get out, get off, be an athlete, make a play. That play-making ability and also being stout in the middle and being selfless, not selfish, because it takes a lot of selflessness to take two defenders so your linebackers can run free, or your safety can come down cracking the B gap.

“It's one of those things I learned along the way that I'm going to continue to carry with me.”

During his college career, Davis played in a total of 47 games with 33 starts and had 7 career sacks. He never had more than 2 1/2 in a season. So it’s unlikely that he’ll all-of-a-sudden become a double-digit sack guy in the NFL.

But, heck, Cox has had just one double-digit sack season in his career and he’s one of the best Eagles of all time.

Weidl said scouts Alan Working and Phil Bhaya did their initial scouting on Davis but then Wiedl and Roseman were down there for the SEC Championship Game and Georgia’s pro day.

“I think when you see a guy with that type of size, athleticism and explosion that loves to play the game, he did what they asked him to do in their defense,” Weidl said. “He fit the bill. He made them strong in the middle of the defense.

“But you saw the lateral quickness, you saw the range, you saw the ability to get down on the line of scrimmage and run down running backs and hawk down quarterbacks. So, we think he has it in his body, the explosion in his body. We're excited to get him in here and get him in our program.”