How Timing Forced the Philadelphia Eagles’ Hand with Davion Taylor
PHILADELPHIA – It’s a bookkeeping quirk the Eagles want changed and it’s also one that cost Davion Taylor a job on Wednesday, at least for now.
When Philadelphia claimed and was awarded quarterback Ian Book off waivers from the New Orleans Saints it had to create a 53-man roster spot.
Many fans just assumed that would be satisfied with the trade of Jalen Reagor to Minnesota but the timing was staggered and the Eagles got the deal done for their disappointing 2020 first-round pick after they were awarded Book.
Whether it was for two hours or two minutes, Philadelphia needed the roster spot before and the third-year linebacker paid the price.
Once Reagor was moved after, the Eagles slipped back to 52 and have an open roster spot heading into Thursday’s business day.
Whether this is the end of Taylor in Philadelphia will be decided by the rest of the league which will have the opportunity to claim the raw athlete who heated up early in camp but faltered badly in preseason action.
If Taylor clears waivers, he could return to the Eagles practice squad, which still has two slots available after the team brought back 14 players and International Pathway Program exemption Matt Leo on Wednesday.
Taylor, the team’s third-round selection in the same draft Philadelphia missed on Reagor, played in 21 games over his first two professional seasons, accumulating 51 tackles, two forced fumbles, and a tackle for loss.
He seemed to be showing significant progress last season, showing a real physical nature to go along with his top-tier athleticism before injuring his knee and undergoing surgery on his MCL which ended Taylor’s campaign.
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In the offseason, the Eagles signed Kyzir White in free agency and drafted Nakobe Dean, moves that put Taylor fourth in the off-ball LB pecking order behind the newcomers and T.J. Edwards, the leader of the defense.
When you add in Shaun Bradley’s special-teams acumen, Taylor became expendable because that’s the main job description of a fourth LB.
Taylor was so impressive early that Dean, the high-profile 2022 third-round pick out of Georgia, had a tough time earning reps early in the process and Taylor, who played one game of high school due to his Seventh Day Adventist faith seemed to be turning the corner.
“The biggest thing about me this year is that I feel way more confident in the scheme,” said Taylor earlier this summer. “That’s let me use my athleticism and fly around and do what I do without really thinking.
“That’s the biggest thing I feel I’ve improved over last year. I feel like I haven’t had any setbacks compared to last year. I’m continuing where I left off, and I love that I’m doing that.”
For whatever reason Taylor couldn’t build on the hot start and he was the one tasked with playing late into the ugly preseason finale against Miami, not Dean.
The book isn’t quite closed on Taylor in Philadelphia yet but his future is out of the Eagles’ hands for 24 hours.
GM Howie Roseman, the architect of these difficult decisions, has indicated he wants his assistant Jon Ferrari, who is the organization’s expert on football compliance matters, to work on an amendment to align the day after the cutdown to 53 roster moves so they match up from a timing standpoint.
-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com’s Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Sports. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talker Jody McDonald, every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on YouTube.com and JAKIBSports.com. You can reach John at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.