Like Georgia Again for Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean, While Cam Jurgens Steps Up
PHILADELPHIA – As far as rookie debuts go, it was good. Not great, but good, and that’s a good thing because they are only going to get better.
The Eagles’ top three picks in last spring’s draft all made the most of the playing time they got in the first half.
Second-round pick Cam Jurgens looked at ease in stepping in for Jason Kelce as he rehabs from recent elbow surgery.
“I’m not thinking about (filling Kelce’s large shoes),” Jurgens after his preseason debut. “I’m just thinking about how to go out there and play the best game.”
Jurgens remained in the game even after the first-team offensive line exited, and he ended up playing the entire first half.
“Cam has come in and done a really good job,” said QB Jalen Hurts. “He has so much ability. So much ability. He can run. He’s very smart. I know he’s early on in it being a rookie, but he’s showing so much.
“For me, it’s been a diligent process just making sure we’re all on the same page. Whether it be the snap count, how we’re (reading) something, how we’re seeing the game, making sure we’re on the same page. I’m excited for Cam.”
Then there is the duo from Georgia – defensive tackle Jordan Davis and linebacker Nakobe Dean.
“Jordan has been showing me a lot,” said DL Brandon Graham. “He’s just been building, just like I told him. It’s about making sure you’re in the best shape you can be for the season, and just making sure you’re running to the ball. Even seeing Nakobe, you know Nakobe, he’s been working his butt off in practice and just seeing him make plays out there (Friday).
“I’m happy for the young group because they want to listen, they want to learn, and they want to keep getting better, and that’s what you want – guys to come in with a worker’s mindset.”
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Davis and Dean made a play together, just like they had done so many times as college teammates for the national champion Bulldogs.
“I think they have that automatic connection,” said head coach Nick Sirianni. “You can definitely see that and feel that.”
That bond manifested itself on one play when Davis burst into the backfield and slowed down a Jets RB. Dean stepped into the hole to make the tackle, holding the play to only one yard.
“I’m always excited to have Nakobe behind me,” said Davis. “If I mess up, he’s going to clean it up, and always having him behind me I can do no wrong, but obviously I love playing with him and just having Nakobe there.”
Davis is probably never going to be a stat-sheet stuffer, but an offense is going to have to account for him. He’s difficult to block one-on-one, and there were many times he consumed two blockers and even one play at least where three blockers took a shot at him.
“I thought Jordan did a good job eating up blocks, and I thought Nakobe got to the football, made a nice play when a guy threw an iso play, shed the blocker, and made the play,” said Sirianni.
Davis’ first snap was a productive one from a team standpoint, ending with Kyzir White’s interception and 27-yard return.
Dean had five tackles and showed the ability to step into a gap to take on a ball carrier.
“He was real physical in the run game,” said fellow LB Kyzir White. “He was coming down and making a lot of plays in the box. He’s not afraid to get down and dirty in there. He’s a good player, for sure.”
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.
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.