PHILADELPHIA — There were times when Jordan Davis felt like “the walls were closing in” as the Eagles’ first-round draft pick last season.
Davis knew his role as a defensive tackle, learning behind veterans Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave. And that was the case before Davis went to injured reserve midway through the season with an ankle injury, only to come back and play even less as the Eagles added veterans Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph for their run at Super Bowl.
Not playing often was hard enough. But life off the pitch wasn’t easy either. That’s why Davis, barely a grizzled veteran at age 23, had some pointed advice for his three University of Georgia teammates drafted this spring, especially fellow defensive tackle Jalen Carter.
The Eagles hold their second and final week of organized team activities this week, then pause until training camp begins in late July. Unlike every other NFL team, the Eagles won’t be hosting a mandatory minicamp next week.
Davis said Carter was like “my brother”. Davis added that he was so excited to play with Carter that he said they would “get weird” together on the court.
The other Georgia rookies are point carrier Nolan Smith, another first-round pick, and fourth-round pick Kelee Ringo, a cornerback. Davis and linebacker Nakobe Dean were drafted last year and have pretty much had a redshirt year behind veterans in their positions.
“It’s tough. It’s tough,” Davis said. “I’m not going to sugarcoat this… You know, it’s gonna be hard on them and that’s what we’re here for. You know, they’re in a hotel (for OTAs and training camp) . It takes a heavy toll on your body. It’s like being trapped and seeing the same four walls. So anytime I can go out there and get those boys out… just to show them around town. , the places I’ve been in the last year, and going out to explore more places.
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“I know what it’s like to be a rookie. So I know what it’s like when the walls are closing in. Hey, you just need to escape. So I’m offering my apartment. I’m offering a ride if they need to go somewhere or if they want to eat something.”
Perhaps the message was mostly aimed at Carter, who the Eagles picked at No. 9. Davis had a tumultuous offseason that included a no-contest plea to the run and reckless driving in a crash involving a second car which resulted in the death of a teammate and a Georgia football staff member.
There was also Pro Day in March where Carter couldn’t complete all of the exercises due to exhaustion.
Conditioning hasn’t been an issue during Eagles OTAs so far. But the real test will come in training camp. For this, Davis said he plans to help Carter as much as possible.
“We’re brothers, so it’s not like a mentor-mentee role,” Davis said. “It’s more like a brotherhood.”
This brotherhood also helps Davis. He knows more is expected of him after Hargrave, Suh and Joseph failed to return. The only one who has is Fletcher Cox, a six-time Pro Bowl draft pick from 2015-2020. But Cox, 32, is entering his 12th season, and the Eagles might want to cut his workload to a 50-60 range. % of defensive snaps.
To do that, the Eagles need the production of Davis and Carter as well as third-year pro Milton Williams. Davis was working his way into that role in the first half of the season, playing up to 42% of the snaps in a game before his injury. When he returned after missing four games, he never played more than 26%.
“I understand that (the Eagles) ask me a lot more and that’s okay, that’s what I’m here for,” Davis said. “I’m lucky to have that experience behind those (veterans last season) to see what it took. Just try to follow the lessons they gave me and not lose them. “
What to watch for in Week 2 of OTAs
Blankenship does not shoot blanks: A year ago around this time, safety Reed Blankenship was an unknown undrafted free agent from Middle Tennessee State who was unlikely to make the 53-man roster. Not only did Blankenship make the roster, but he started five games last season when Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was injured. Blankenship is a starter at the moment after Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps left for free agency. That makes Blankenship an inspiration to other undrafted free agents, and he offered this advice to those undrafted players this year: “You have to have this mentality that you’re going to make someone look at you. “, did he declare. “I just wanted someone to know who I was and to know that I really love the game.”
The cornerback moves inside? Zech McPhearson spent the first week of OTAs working around the nickel corner, and that could be a permanent change. After all, the Eagles have Darius Slay and James Bradberry as away starters, with Greedy Williams and Ringo considered the best substitutes. The Eagles aren’t as deep at the nickel with Avonte Maddox, who has missed multiple games over the years, as a clear starter. McPhearson is one of the best special teams players. “We try to get some guys to be flexible with their positions, to curl them up a bit, and that’s what we do with him because he’s a good cover guy,” the running backs coach said. DK McDonald defenses.
Jürgens and Kelce: Cam Jurgens was the first-team right guard against rookie Tyler Steen last week. They are in the running to replace Isaac Seumalo, who signed with the Steelers. Jurgens was drafted in the second round last year to eventually serve as Jason Kelce’s successor at center. Kelce, 35, decided to return this season after making the All-Pro team again, necessitating Jurgens’ move. He said Kelce told him, “Yeah, I’m sorry. I’m coming back for another year.”
Contact Martin Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.
This article originally appeared on the Delaware News Journal: How Eagles Jordan Davis is getting ‘weird’ with fellow Georgian Jalen Carter