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Additions also mean endings: Eagles pull plug on Davion Taylor project


Photo Credit by John McMullen/JAKIB Sports

ThrivePHILADELPHIA – It was Nov. 14 of 2021 in Denver when some observers thought Davion Taylor turned the corner from a raw developmental prospect to a legitimate NFL starter.

Taylor flashed the athleticism that made him a 2020 third-round pick and married it with impressive physicality that resulted in two forced fumbles in what was a 30-13 Philadelphia rout. One of the fumbles was scooped up by Darius Slay and returned 83 yards for a touchdown before the Pro Bowl cornerback’s now-famed city vs. country fumble explanation.

Ten days later Taylor was on injured reserve en route to knee surgery that seemed to derail his career.

In hindsight, that performance against the Broncos was the outlier in Taylor’s three years with the Eagles, which ended on Friday when he was released in part to make room for veteran linebacker additions Myles Jack and Zach Cunningham.

Taylor barely played football in high school due to his Seventh Day Adventist faith and took the community college route before ultimately landing at Colorado where NFL scouts became enamored with his 4.49 speed on a 230-pound frame.

The Eagles were OK with waiting a bit for the game to slow down for Taylor, hoping the back end would result in incredible value for what was the 103rd overall pick.

And to his credit, Taylor was showing signs in his sophomore season, starting six games before the knee injury short-circuited his season and turns out, his career with the Eagles.

“[It’s] always hard when you have to say good-bye to players,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni told JAKIB Sports on Sunday night, prior to the open practice at Lincoln Financial Field. “That’s always a tough part of the job, because Davion has worked really hard to be in a position this year to be on the 90-man roster and fighting for a spot or a practice squad spot, and sometimes you have to … that’s a hard part of the job.”

Organizations rarely like to give up on premium picks but Taylor had been relegated to working in developmental periods recently and the die seemed to be cast.

“It’s not [a decision] we take lightly,” Sirianni said. “We try to communicate with them, but when you’re building relationships and knowing guys for two years and knowing what an integral part that Davion was last year to our team – because it’s not just the 53 men on the team that make the team, right? It’s the practice squad guys, and Davion gave us great looks last year.”

Taylor spent the 2022-23 season on the practice squad after being released on the final cutdown to 53, a victim to the added depth of free-agent signing Kyzir White and Nakobe Dean coming in as a rookie.

Ever the politician Sirianni would not completely shut the door on Taylor with the Eagles, mentioning receiver Deon Cain, who is back this summer after being released and adding to his resume in the USFL, where Cain was MVP of the USFL Championship game as a member of the Birmingham Stallions.

“You never know,” said Sirianni. “You never close the door on anything. We know his body of work, the type of person he is, so we’ll see how everything plays out.”

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