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Eagles All-22 Film Review: Evaluating T.J. Edwards and Davion Taylor

Closer look at two Philadelphia linebackers.

New Orleans Saints v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

A little bit of a different one this week. No one wants to read a whole long article on TJ Edwards and Davion Taylor. So, I decided to combine the two of them and do two shorter reviews for the purpose of this article! Full disclaimer, as many of you know if you follow me on Twitter or have read my stuff for a while, these are both players that I really have not been a fan of. Davion Taylor in particular, was a draft pick that I absolutely hated. I also didn’t think TJ Edwards would have the athleticism to ever be more than a backup linebacker. However, I am obviously always open to changing my opinions and I think I did on TJ Edwards last season. I am interested to focus on Davion Taylor too for this article, so let’s get into it!

Stats

All stats taken from PFF and only includes linebackers with 20% of the snaps which is 95 total.

TJ Edwards

Strengths

+ Does a good job avoiding contact with lineman to get to the running back, faster than you would think for a UDFA.

+ Really good against the run. Can play sideline to sideline and always has an eye on the running back. Great tackling technique too, rarely seems to miss a tackle.

+ Instinctive and aggressive downhill, does a good job getting out to screens, wide receiver reverses etc.

+ Has the strength to take on lineman and too strong for most backs and tight ends.

Weaknesses

- He’s extremely aggressive and that means he can get caught out by play-action or fakes

- Limited athletically and not a guy you want out in space or lining up in coverage. Will struggle in man coverage and not great in zone coverage either.

Overall

TJ Edwards is somebody I was completely wrong about. I saw the ability to play the run but I thought he was simply too limited athletically to hold up as a starting linebacker. But he has proven to be an average/good starting linebacker which is very impressive for a UDFA. I still don’t think he’s a great fit for the modern pass-happy NFL but you still need good quality linebackers who can play the run. I expect TJ Edwards to play less snaps next year but I still expect him to have a key role on base downs. I imagine Kyzir White and Nakobe Dean to play a lot in nickel but I wouldn’t count out TJ Edwards, I think he will continue to play quite a big role for the Eagles in 2022.


Davion Taylor

Strengths

+ Very good athlete who can get around the field extremely quickly. Has the speed and quickness to get sideline to sideline.

+ Showed the ability at times last year to get off blocks and make tackles in the running game. This was something he struggled with in college.

+ Has the profile and athleticism to be able to be strong in coverage. Should be able to deal with tight ends and even bigger receivers. Not shown this hugely on tape.

Weaknesses

- Weak at taking on blocks still. Gets moved too frequently by lineman and tight ends.

- Has too many snaps where he looks lost or in the wrong place. Not an instinctive player and doesn’t have the reactions that a starting linebacker needs. Came from a strange college system where he didn’t play a traditional linebacker role

Overall

I find Davion Taylor one of the most frustrating players on the Eagles currently. I did not like the pick at the time and whilst he has actually played better than I expected, he still doesn’t do enough for me. The athleticism and upside is obvious, but he is still too weak at the point of attack and has to become more instinctive and reactive as he gets more experienced. I expect Taylor to be on the sideline the majority of the time unless Kyzir White or Nakobe Dean get injured so he will have to work hard to make the most of his limited opportunities next season.

Final Thoughts

Comparing Davion Taylor and TJ Edwards is really interesting. They both come out about the same time and it’s easy to see why Davion Taylor was drafted in the 3rd and TJ Edwards went undrafted when you look at their athletic profiles from @mockdraftable.

Edwards:

Taylor:

However, it proves that athletic ability will only get you so far. TJ Edwards is far more instinctive and understands the position a lot better than Taylor does at this point. If Taylor reaches his ceiling, he has upside that TJ Edwards simply could only dream of. But not all athletes make great football players, I’d be willing to bet on TJ Edwards continuing to help the Eagles out more than Davion Taylor does in the future.

RELATED READING — Eagles All-22 Film Review: Nakobe Dean could prove to be a huge steal

RELATED READING — Eagles All-22 Film Review: Kyzir White brings speed to Philadelphia’s defense