Who better to ask about linebacker play than a former player that started over 200 games at the position?
In this case, that player is former first round selection and two-time Pro Bowler Takeo Spikes, who also had a brief stint with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007. Spikes has his own show (The Behind the Mask Podcast on the Bleav Podcast Network), so we linked up to chat some football on Fireside Chats #17.
When asked about the Eagles linebacker group, Spikes said had high hopes for the rookie Davion Taylor. Spikes was particularly impressed with a play Taylor made when Colorado was down 38-3 to Oregon in the 3rd quarter...
“I remember looking at the Oregon game... This cat, he was on the line of scrimmage on the other side of the field and the running back broke on the other side. And clearly you thought he was going to score. You saw Davion completely eat him up, cut the grass, hawk him down. And I’m like ‘if you can display that type of effort like that when basically most people would look at the game and say they’re already gone’...
And the thing I like about him is, athletic freak, he can run... he’s the prototypical guy. Is there some things he can clean up on? Absolutely. But when I look at his game and his ability when he has his mind made up, he can make some plays.
So I really look forward to seeing how he develops...” - Takeo Spikes
The running back he chase down was no slouch either. CJ Verdell is known as an explosive fellow that’s fourth among returning FBS players with a combined 2,238 career rushing yards the last two seasons. Verdell was unable to pull away due to the athleticism and track background that landed Taylor on Bruce Feldman’s notorious “Freak List”...
“...he raced in the 100 and 200 meters and was on the 4×100 relay team. The 6-3, 220-pounder was CU’s fastest sprinter, and he finished sixth in the 100 at the Pac-12 Championships. His top 100 time this year was 10.51 in the prelims of the Pac-12s.” - Bruce Feldman, The Athletic
Taylor has a long way to go in learning the game due to his lack of experience in the box as he played the “star” position for Colorado all of last year, so he may have to be eased in to the rotation in pass heavy situations. If he can figure out run fits sooner than later it’ll be a boon for his potential playing time. The athleticism is unquestionably there, it’s just a matter of getting him coached up in the finer details of the game. That process could take a few years, but there’s an enticing toolbox to work with in the meantime. At the very least Taylor should start off his career as a special teams demon.
We talk more about Taylor and the Eagles linebacker group among a range of other topics on Fireside Chats #17! Listen on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts?! Check out our guide on how to listen to subscribe to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!