The Eagles’ selected linebacker Davion Taylor in the third round of the NFL Draft earlier this year, and the rookie is finally at the NovaCare Complex for training camp. Taylor spoke with the media for the first time since he was drafted, and talked about the virtual offseason, his role and experience.
Here’s what the LB had to say:
On the virtual offseason
Taylor said it was challenging because he’s a hands-on type of guy, but he was able to adapt, and spent extra time with the playbook and watched extra film to take those mental reps he wasn’t able to get on the field. He’s just doing whatever he can to be ready once game day comes around.
The rookie was happy with how the linebackers and linebacker coach, Ken Flajole, were able to work together virtually, and Taylor said that they were able to accomplish a lot. He was able to learn all the plays, and Flajole made sure that they were getting familiar with every little detail, especially since they weren’t working on the field. And, now that they are together at the facility, it’s just going with the flow to put it all together.
Taylor said that he spent time training at his high school gym and field when the pandemic hit. He worked out with his trainer in Colorado, who helped him prepare for the Combine, and he got a lot of conditioning in to make sure he was in the best shape.
The linebacker room is pretty young, but Taylor said that Nathan Gerry has been a big help — even virtually, he was asking questions like he was still a rookie, and still tries to improve as much as he can. Once all the veterans get in the building, Taylor hopes to find someone to latch onto and have as a mentor.
Without a preseason, Taylor expects a lot of uptempo practices, and very tough training camp compared to previous years. They’re doing a lot of running and lifting right now and making sure they’re ready for the start of on-field stuff at camp.
On his role and experience
Taylor said that he’s learning all the linebacker positions because he always wants to be prepared when and if his name is called, and you never know where the team might need him.
He was asked about his limited experience and whether that made him less instinctive at the position. Taylor agreed that might have been the case in college, but at this level he can’t make any excuses, he has to go out there and be a pro. He knows, however, that with his limited background, he has to study extra and put in extra time with the coaches.
If anything, he uses that as motivation, because he is so raw he has such a high ceiling, plus he’s willing and wanting to learn — so he considers it a blessing. Taylor knows he has little room for mistakes, but his hard work and dedication to getting better should get him to where he needs to be.
Following up on having a lot left to learn, Taylor is working on learning the true outside linebacker and inside linebacker positions, and understanding the positions so well that everything is instinctive.
Regarding special teams, Taylor has been putting in work their too. He said he wants to be able to play everywhere, and wants to contribute anywhere he can.
Taylor said that he respects Marquise Goodwin for opting out of the season, even if it wasn’t something he ever considered himself. The rookie noted “family comes first”, but ultimately he does feel safe in the NovaCare with all the protocols they put in place.