2020 NFL draft grades: Davion Taylor a terrific athlete for Eagles in third round

Andrew Kulp
NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles took a linebacker, and what, a punter was available?

I kid, but 103 picks into the draft, the Eagles finally made a pick that's hard to find much fault. Even if you don't know much about Davion Taylor, a couple things stand out.

The Eagles actually need linebackers, and Taylor is one of the best athletes at his position in this class.

I'm not even down on Nathan Gerry and presumably T.J. Edwards as the presumptive starters. The Eagles would be wise to introduce legitimate competition though, not to mention there's very little in the way of depth there. Duke Riley currently projects as the unit's third linebacker in base defense.

Taylor certainly intrigues with sub-4.5 speed – two-tenths of a second off the time Jalen Reagor ran at the combine. The Colorado product ranked among the top 10 linebackers in every workout at the event, and top five in the 40 and broad jump. He's a tremendous athlete.

After transferring from a junior college, Taylor registered 129 tackles, 18.0 TFLs and 2.0 sacks in two seasons of Pac-12 football.

But it is the third round of the draft, so he's obviously incomplete in some way.

The big knock on Taylor is inexperience. The reason he attended a junior college is because that's when he first started playing football. He has a long way to go in terms of improving fundamental aspects of his game such as technique and recognition.

In other words, he's more an athlete than a professional football player at this stage.

So Taylor likely isn't competition for Gerry or Edwards at all, or even Riley for that matter, at least not in 2020. Which is fine – this was a compensatory pick, so while technically in Round 3, we're really in fourth-round territory here.

There were also more NFL-ready prospects on the board though, like Akeem Davis-Gaither from Appalachian State, Troy Dye from Oregon or Justin Strmad from Wake Forest.

The Eagles are obviously projecting Taylor has more promise than that group, and I can see why. But the Eagles seem to be doing an excessive amount of projecting on Day 2 of this draft, rather than targeting talent with a natural path to contributing in the near-term.

Maybe it's based on a sense these young players won't have OTAs or even a full training camp to get ingratiated, and thus will be limited anyway.

Whatever the case, Taylor is more a bet on pure physical traits than on college production. At least the Eagles needed a linebacker though, because if you're arguing for best player available here, why not another quarterback?

Grade: C+

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2020 NFL draft grades: Davion Taylor a terrific athlete for Eagles in third round originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

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