Philadelphia Eagles: Davis and Dean dazzled in preseason debuts

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

After seven long months, the Philadelphia Eagles are finally back in action.

The excitement around this team has been palpable ever since Howie Roseman nailed the 2022 NFL Draft, with the experienced Gm bringing in a wealth of talent on both sides of the ball. While the draft night trade for star wide receiver A.J Brown may have grabbed the headlines, the decision to draft not one but two dynamic defenders out of Georgia in the first and third rounds may make the biggest long-term impact of all.

Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean shined in their Philadelphia Eagles debuts.

Nakobe Dean was viewed by some as the biggest steal of the 2022 NFL Draft, as the Butkus Award winner fell all the way to the third round and into the Eagles’ lap.

After a promising summer in training camp, where he took his fair share of first-team reps, Dean took the field with the second-team defense behind T.J Edwards and Kyzir White.

He immediately made himself noticed when he entered the game at around the six-minute mark of the first quarter, as, on his second snap of the game, he took off like a missile, flowing to the ball carrier by blowing up the B-gap, and helping Josiah Scott clean up a tackle that resulted in only a one-yard gain for the Jets. For the remainder of the first half, Dean was all over the field and always around the ball. He finished his night with five total tackles, and looked incredibly smooth in coverage, displaying the fluidity and athleticism that made him such a highly coveted player in his draft class.

Jordan Davis, the mammoth defensive tackle and 13th overall pick, made a name for himself at training camp, as reports and footage of his dominance had Birds fans salivating to see him in action. After starting the game on the sidelines while Fletcher Cox got his reps in, Jordan Davis took the field with Milton Williams with about five minutes left in the first quarter.

When that time came, Davis made his presence known from the moment he entered the game. On his first play of the night, he mauled Jets center Connor McGovern from the moment the ball was snapped, knocking him back five yards, before chasing Zach Wilson into the path of Dean.

On the very next play, Davis closed off the A-gap and used his strong hands and freakish agility to single-handedly shut down the cutback lane, limiting the Jets to a one-yard gain. In short, with a few more highlights filling out his night, Davis imposed his will on New York’s offense all night.

Though Davis did not register an official stat in the game, his presence was felt every snap that he was on the field.  Whether it was drawing double teams, shutting down running lanes, or collapsing the pocket, he was able to make an impact in a massive way, and the fans in attendance were understandably impressed.

Now granted, you have to take nearly everything that you see in a preseason game with a grain of salt, but after watching these two rookies perform the way they did, it’s hard not to get excited. The chemistry needed between a middle linebacker and a defensive tackle is akin to the chemistry required between a quarterback and the tackle protecting his blindside. Dean and Davis had that before they stepped foot in Philadelphia, and it will continue to grow as their careers blossom.

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