Jordan Davis was such a difference-maker in the middle of the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive line the first two months of the season that the team needed to sign two former Pro Bowl players to replace him after the rookie injured his ankle.
Davis helped the Eagles (13-2) start 8-0 before missing four games with a high ankle sprain. After Philadelphia allowed 152 yards rushing in its first loss of the season, to Washington on Nov. 14, the team signed veteran defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh.
Joseph and Suh have solidified a deep unit and their presence has helped Davis, who returned to the lineup on Dec. 4.
“Suh and Linval, they help me with my tips and technique and pointers and stuff and how to play the game, be efficient in the game, but just also being a pro, things that I have to do with my body,” Davis said on the AP Pro Football Podcast. “I have to maintain my body, like getting massages or, like with the recent injury, just even though you feel like you're healed, still go to the training room because you never really get away from it. The knowledge that this whole room has, I’m grateful because not a lot of teams have that.”
The 22-year-old Davis also pointed out that he’s surrounded by veterans on the defensive line, including Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Brandon Graham.
“All those guys in that room have an influence on me, so I’m just grateful because the NFL is a crazy business, rooms change every year,” he said. “I’m just appreciative of what I have.”
The Eagles selected the 6-foot-6, 340-pound Davis with the 13th overall pick in this year’s NFL draft to be a run-stuffer. When healthy, he's been that guy. Davis routinely takes up two blockers, freeing other players to make big plays.
Philadelphia's defense is ranked No. 2 in the NFL in fewest yards allowed and first in sacks with 61. Davis doesn’t have any sacks and his snap count has decreased since his return from injury, but he doesn’t care about individual accolades as long as the team wins.
“Everybody has a different role on the team,” said Davis, who left Saturday's loss at Dallas with a head injury. “It doesn’t matter, at least right now for me, what my position is or my role. I’m just happy to be here, I’m happy to be playing. That’s something that I pride myself on because every opportunity I get on the field, it’s an opportunity to play the game I love. Whether I come away with zero tackles or 100, I’m still going to enjoy it, play the game the same way and play with the same tenacity that I have.”
Davis was part of a national championship team at Georgia last season, so he knows what it takes to win big games. The Eagles also drafted former Bulldogs linebacker Nakobe Dean in the third round. Having Dean around has helped Davis transition smoothly to the NFL.
The two rookies are close friends and their tight relationship was highlighted in a recent episode of Whistle’s “Days Off” that featured Davis.
“I think that’s probably one of the best things that’s happened to me,” Davis said. “I’m just grateful that I have him here and this process would be even harder without him. We’re going through this thing together, so we got each other to lean on. I call on him for anything. We talk about everything, on the field, off the field. He’s just my brother, my confidante. That’s the type of relationship we have. I definitely think that all the rookies, they can feel that brotherhood, and we’re starting to try to expand on that to the other rookies. It’s great to have them. There’s definitely a deep love for Kobe and I’m grateful to have him.”
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