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Eagles DL coach explains how Jordan Davis can take next step in career

New Eagles DL coach Clint Hurtt explains what it has been like so far to coach Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter.

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Clint Hurtt hasn’t been Jordan Davis’s position coach for very long but it didn’t take much time to figure out the most important next step for the third-year pro.

Davis admitted it last week too.

And Hurtt brought it up when asked about Davis in a press conference on Monday.

“The No. 1 thing for him is just being in the best shape he possibly can be in,” Hurtt said. “And he’s taken huge strides with that this offseason and it’s a work in progress but he’s off to a really, really good start. If he’s in great condition and he can play all out … Then he’s going to be a hard guy to block. 

“He’s a huge man, long arms, strong, he can get up and down and make tackles in the tackle box. The No. 1 thing for him is conditioning. Can he be in great shape? And we’re off to a nice start with that.”

Davis, 24, was the No. 13 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and while he’s far from a bust, he certainly hasn’t lived up to that draft status.

One of the biggest concerns with Davis, even from the time he was drafted, was about maintaining his weight and conditioning level. Those questions have persisted into Year 3 of his career. Last week, a slimmer-looking Davis said he is down to 350 pounds and is working hard this offseason on making sure he can withstand a full 17-game season.

There are plenty of things for Hurtt to teach Davis but he’s focusing on conditioning and the mental toughness that goes with it.

“A lot of it for him is just pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion,” Hurtt said. “When you’re at what you think is your limit, and then take it another step. And then do it another time and again and again and again. Because you’re building mental toughness along the way. 

“You never know what you have in your body unless you push yourself to your limits and that’s the part that I’m challenging him on right now and really the whole group. But especially him. Because the longer he can play, he can be on the field, he can do some things to help us be successful.”

Davis and fellow Georgia Bulldog Jalen Carter form a duo the Eagles hope will hold down the defensive line for years to come, especially after the retirement of Fletcher Cox this offseason.

The Eagles used back-to-back first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 on Davis and Carter and they are still just 24 and 23, respectively. They’re the future.

“I love it because they’re both young. They’re in the molding phase,” Hurtt said. “They’re still being developed and coming along with their game in the run game and in pass rush. What’s been really good is them looking to go and take the leadership role. You don’t replace a guy like Fletcher Cox but they’re doing their very best to try to step out to the forefront and bring everybody together.”

While this is the first chance Hurtt has been able to coach Carter, he did get to know him in the pre-draft process last year when Hurtt was the defensive coordinator in Seattle and Carter was a likely top-10 pick.

The Seahawks at No. 5 were a popular landing spot for Carter in mock drafts but they ended up taking cornerback Devon Witherspoon from Illinois. Hurtt on Monday confirmed that the pick came down to Witherspoon or Carter, who ended up being taken by the Eagles at No. 9 after a trade-up.

“Loved both players and thought the world of both of them,” Hurtt said. “But spent a lot of time getting to know him. Learning him and it was always a tough one when those decisions are made. I think both of them have unbelievable talent and ability and have bright futures ahead of them. So it’s been pretty cool, learning him then and getting the opportunity to coach him now. He’s maturing, coming along. I’ve been really pleased with the development so far through the offseason program.”

During that pre-draft process in 2023, many of the questions Carter had to field were about his involvement in a fatal car crash that killed his Georgia teammate a Georgia athletics staff member.

Carter is now a year older and has a full NFL season under his belt.

“I would say this: He’s almost a year into it so naturally guys are going to continue to mature, they learn their way around the NFL,” Hurtt explained. “He had obviously the benefit of being around two great vets with Fletch and Brandon Graham. So he’s learned and grown, obviously, since the first time I spent time with him at the Combine process and he had all the other things that he had to answer questions for. But he’s been really good and he’s continued to grow and mature. So, again, been a pleasure to coach him.”

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