New Eagles LB coach discusses reuniting with Davion Taylor, first impressions of Nakobe Dean

Davion Taylor, Philadelphia Eagles, Mike Williams, Chargers
Davion Taylor, Philadelphia Eagles, Mike Williams, Chargers / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

"I'm probably one of the few people that, when you take a new job, you don't have to move... One day, I went down Broad Street, and I went right. The next day, I went down to Broad Street, and I went left". Those were the words of new Philadelphia Eagles linebackers coach D.J. Eliot. After spending the 2022 NCAA football season with the Temple Owls, he's now in charge of leading an often-discussed unit for the defending champions of the National Football Conference, one the organization sometimes treats like an afterthought.

Eliot's job is to elevate the young guns Nick Rallis mentored for the past two seasons. Rallis, the Eagles linebacker coach in 2021 and 2022, has joined Jonathan Gannon in Arizona as the Cardinals' defensive coordinator.

Eliot is familiar with Davion Taylor, having coached him in 2018 in Colorado as the Buffaloes' D.C. and linebackers coach. He's getting to know Nakobe Dean for the first time. Dean will start at middle linebacker for the Eagles in 2023. We aren't certain if Taylor will make the team. Let the games begin.

Here's what Eagles LB coach D.J. Eliot said about Davion Taylor and Nakobe Dean at Eagles OTAs

D.J. Eliot met with select members of the Philly media on June 6th. Here's the biggest takeaway. Nearly 25 years of coaching led him to this new opportunity with the Eagles, and this young man is truly excited as the game hasn't gotten old to him. He has been smiling like it is his first day at school.

"It's just a thrill to be a part of the Eagles organization and to stay home... I'm very excited to be the Eagles linebackers coach to work with these linebackers. We got a great group of guys. They've been hungry and eager. They've been very attentive to what we've been coaching and have done a tremendous job through OTAs. "

As mentioned, Eliot coached at Temple. So did assistant defensive backs coach Taver Johnson, defensive coordinator Sean Desai (2006–2010), and nickels coach Ronell Williams. The latter two also worked together in the Chicago Bears organization. The roots of this team and this staff run deep,

D.J. is beginning new relationships as well. Here's what he had to say about his first impressions of second-year Bird Nakobe Dean.

"Right when I got hired, I called all of the linebackers. I talked to Nakobe for about five minutes, and I was really trying to get to know him. He's like 'Yeah, yeah... That's great coach. Can you get me the playbook?' He is very serious about it. He's a student of the game, and that was my first impression of him. He was eager to learn. He wanted to learn, and he wanted to get started right away. I've been impressed with him through OTAs in that way too, in the fact that how much of a student of the game he is, and how much he studies it, and how much time he puts into being not only the best physical player but the best mental player he can be. "

"The role of a coach is to take a player somewhere (he) can't go on his own". That's a direct quote from Philly's new LB coach. Davion Taylor took his lumps as a rookie. During his second NFL season, he seemed to be on the right track before an injury halted everything. Last year was spent in football limbo a.k.a. the practice squad.

Taylor will have work to do if he's to make the uphill climb to make the Eagles roster. Don't count him out yet. Eliot has a lot of confidence in his former student.

"I know what type of person he is. I know what type of player he is. I know some of his strengths and some of his weaknesses."

In other words, their previous relationship gives D.J. the tools he needs to get the best out of a young prospect that some still believe has the potential to be a nice piece. He and defensive end/outside linebackers coach Jeremiah Washburn have a lot of talented guys they're mentoring. Something tells us that these are the right men for the job.

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