Last year, Howie Roseman asked everyone he met, why clubs were passing over Jordan Davis, a Georgia interior lineman. Because he would never be a pass rusher, the team decided he wasn’t worth picking so early in the draft. Howie’s reply was succinct and to the point:
At Georgia, Davis recorded 11.5 sacks, including 5.0 as a senior that year. The Eagles wouldn’t have selected him 13th overall if they didn’t think he had the potential to become a disruptive pass rusher and third down specialist.
Another thing to keep in mind regarding Davis is that he wasn’t getting many snaps on third down due of Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, and Milton Williams (and eventually Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh). Just 89 of his 224 plays were passes. In those 89 snaps, he recorded 10 pass pressures.
And at age 23, the Eagles see no reason why he can’t develop into a dominant pass rusher.
Roseman also responded to the argument that Davis wasn’t worth a high first-round choice since he didn’t play a lot of snaps in college.
Roseman’s refusal to accept the prevailing thinking about a player is one of the things that sets him apart in the draft and in player acquisition generally. Don’t base your decisions on the opinions of others. Trust your own eyes instead than hearsay. However, Roseman didn’t buy into the idea that Davis could only play on running-downs in the NFL because of Jordan.
“That guy’s got a head of steam, how are you stopping that guy?” he said.
In a 54-minute interview with Jason Kelce for the Kelce Brothers’ New Heights podcast, Roseman addressed the criticism that the Eagles overdrafted Davis because he wasn’t a big-time sack producer at Georgia and didn’t play a ton of snaps in college, as well as how the team dealt with Davis’s fall in the first half of the 2018 draft.
“Last year, going through the draft, my perspective was Jordan Davis, 10 years ago, would have been a top-three pick,” Roseman said. “So you’re going through it, and you’re like, ‘Why is this guy falling?’ And everyone’s going, ‘Well, he only played 40 percent of the time at Georgia.’
“The guy won the Lombardi and the Outland trophies. He was top-10 in the Heisman Trophy (voting). With the best defense in the country that won the national championship game. And so you’re going, ‘What are we missing?’ (He’s) a freak-show athlete. What are we missing?
“Good character? Yeah, he was a captain at Georgia. Unbelievable personality. So you’re going, ‘What is going on here?’ And it’s like, ‘Oh, he can’t play on third down.’”
“To me, it was a situation where it’s like, ‘Why is he playing 40 to 50 percent of the plays?’ Well, really, look at the games that Georgia was in last year,” he said. “(Georgia was) winning 42-7 in the third quarter most of those games and they were smart, they have all these five-star recruits and we’ve got to keep these guys here so we don’t lose them a year from now when Jordan leaves.
“And in the close games, in the national championship games, he’s playing 60 percent of the plays. So when I look at that, I’m going, man, that’s an opportunity.”