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‘All eyes are on me’: Eagles rookie Jordan Davis is a bulldozer in his training camp reps — and a sponge

Davis, the first-round defensive tackle out of Georgia, is relishing learning from veterans such as center Jason Kelce.

Eagles defensive lineman Jordan Davis greets military members before training camp practice at the NovaCare Complex on Saturday.
Eagles defensive lineman Jordan Davis greets military members before training camp practice at the NovaCare Complex on Saturday.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

When Jordan Davis heard offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland’s whistle blow, that cued the 6-foot-6, 336-pound defensive tackle to steamroll his opposition in one-on-ones that occurred during Monday’s training camp practice.

Directly in front of Davis was backup offensive lineman Jack Anderson, who was tasked with blocking the largest human on the team. Immediately upon hearing Stoutland’s whistle, Davis executed a precise sidestep move that was immediately followed with a violent chop of Anderson’s flailing arms. In less than a couple of seconds, Davis had handily won his matchup, as he immersed himself in the backfield.

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It was the type of flash moment that can be expected when you’re the team’s top pick in the draft. But considering his immense size and athleticism, Davis carries much more swagger to his game. On Monday, he received a significant uptick in his reps with the Eagles’ first-team defense.

“The one-on-ones are like an isolated rep,” Davis said. “It’s like the game and a situation, the offensive lineman is going to be locked up, so you have to work a move. My primary move is bull rush, so you’ve just got to work it. It’s just a good way to see the line’s strengths and weaknesses.”

Any specific takeaways from being so dominant?

He continued: “My takeaway, you can always get better. They want me to work bull rush, but I’m trying to add a little bit to my bag and everything. Once I get the things down pat, then I just add the tools to the toolbox, and I’ll never run out.”

Unlimited tools for a nose tackle the size of Davis seems unfair, especially if the team is able to tap into his ability as a pass rusher. While starring at Georgia, Davis totaled 91 tackles, including 12½ tackles for losses, and seven sacks over 47 career games. Following his senior year in 2021, he was awarded with the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman and the Chuck Bednarik Award as the best defensive player in college football.

“I ain’t never seen a guy like that,” linebacker Kyzir White said of Davis. “Definitely I’m glad he’s on our side. He’s going to make things easier for us.”

After he was selected with the No. 13 pick, Davis arrived to Philadelphia, and he was instructed by the training staff to slim down some. The Eagles provided him with a workout plan that emphasized higher reps and intensity. The results produced a slimmed-down Davis, who is listed officially at 336 pounds. Davis says the team hopes to keep his playing weight between 330-340 pounds.

“I think that he came to camp ready to go,” coach Nick Sirianni said. “Our guys in the training staff and the strength staff and sports science staff have just done a great job of knowing what our guys are supposed to play at. That’s something I’m always obsessed about is are you playing to the correct weight. I’ve had experiences throughout my career of guys being heavy and their play suffering. I’ve had experience of my guys through my career of them losing weight of what they were the year before and having phenomenal seasons.

“So that’s always going to stick in my mind. ... So, we are going to be on him about that. I know he came back where he needed to be, but that’s going to be something that we’re focused on. I think he’s been running around well. His weight was where we wanted it to be and his body fat was where we wanted it to be.”

At the conclusion of Monday’s practice, Davis put in additional work under the guidance of veteran center Jason Kelce. The two players spent more than 20 minutes chatting and lining up together individually in an attempt to get Davis fully up to speed.

“Playbook is good, it’s easy to pick up,” Davis said. “We had an extensive playbook at Georgia, so it’s a little easier to learn. Now, it’s about going forward. ... I’m just learning tips [from Kelce], if I’m doing something right, if I’m putting my hands there, or just getting on the front side of him. He’s a fast guy. Being able to do that, and not get on the back side of him. Little things like that, everybody is learning.”

Davis emphasized the levelheaded mindset he carries during training camp, which helps him to forget the highs and lows. Earlier in practice, Davis struggled to regather himself after a failed bull rush attempt against another backup center, Cameron Tom. Near the end of one-on-ones, fellow rookie Cam Jurgens was the victor in a rep against Davis.

“You’ll lose a rep, that’s football,” Davis said. “But as long as you learn something from that, that’s what really matters. You have to stay mentally focused. I’m trying to learn everything.”

First-round picks typically arrive to camps with heightened expectations in today’s NFL. But Davis’ situation is unique considering the state of the franchise and the pieces in place. Davis is benefiting firsthand from playing alongside long-standing veteran Fletcher Cox — who is back playing on a restructured one-year deal — and 2021 Pro Bowler Javon Hargrave. Even more veterans are affixed across the line, including defensive ends Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat.

Regardless of his surroundings, Davis has made it known he’s strictly here to work, maximize his reps, and destroy just about everything and everyone lined up in front of him.

Davis concluded: “Of course, every rep is going to be important. All eyes are on me.”

NEW IN 2022: We’re going all in on Eagles Gameday Central! Kicking off the season we’ve got Inquirer Eagles beat reporters EJ Smith and Josh Tolentino tackling the major story lines of the team a week into training camp, plus the most competitive position battles and the latest on Jalen Hurts and Nick Sirianni.