Has good size and strength. Shows ability to get leverage at the point of attack. Has a decent first step for his size, and flashes some potential as a bull rusher with his strength and power.
Doesn't have reliable first step to get push upfield, and tends to rely on his quickness which isn't great. Needs to learn to get off blocks better, particularly by using his hands and developing his technique. Doesn't really show any pass rush moves. Does not make impact plays and can't reliable win 1 on 1 matchups against the guard or center. Injuries really limited his burst and balance as a senior.
Even before the injury, I wasn't super high on Taylor. I think earlier in his career he benefited greatly from playing beside Gerald McCoy, but he did show developmental potential as a one-gap nose tackle. During his sophomore and junior year he started 27 games, recording 63 tackles, 13.5 for loss, and 8 sacks during that span. He disclocated his ankle in the bowl game last year, and was slowed early on during the season, clearly it was affected his burst and balance in early games. Then when he started to get back into the stride of things, he tore his Achilles in November. He finished the year with 6 starts in 10 games, with 12 tackles, 0.5 for loss, and 0.5 sacks.
The Achilles injury was a major setback for Taylor, as it now pretty much washes out any hope he is going to make an impact early in his NFL career. An Achilles tear is a definite 18-24 month injury, which takes that long before a player can get back to his previous level. And that level for Taylor was a decent rotational player that can help stuff the run, but wasn't going to be a force on the pro level. If he can learn to use his hands better and develop better technique, Taylor could make a decent stopgap starter, but ideally a backup nose tackle in a 4-3 scheme. But even if he was 100% healthy, I think he was a player that was going to take the better part of two or three years before he can develop that sort of technique. And throw in the 1-2 years he may miss due to this injury, any team that drafts him if they can get any sort of production from him before his rookie contract expires, that would be a major boon. So at this point, his NFL future is very limited. If he can take a year or so to get healthy, and perseveres through this, I think 3-4 years down the road, Taylor can make an NFL roster and then start to develop as a guy in a rotation. Or he might be better off retiring.
In the Falcons scheme, even if healthy Taylor is a reserve prospect. He probably has better athletic potential than Vance Walker, but he's not an impact player. And like Walker, he'll likely be limited to playing the run for the most part since he lacks the technique and pass rush ability to reliable get pressure on passing downs. So even if he was 100%, Taylor I think would be an OK rotational option that could compete with Walker, but not be a slam dunk to beat him out. He'd be a good practice squad candidate to stash away for a year or two and see if he can stick down the road. But with the injury, Taylor isn't even worth the Falcons time at this point in time. If he wants to come back three years from now, then the Falcons should give him a call. But until then, he's a waste of a roster spot.
Taylor isn't worth drafting or signing, because he's not even going to be in a position to make an NFL roster until at least two years from now. And even then it's a longshot.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point Of Attack: 3.0
Pass Rush: 2.0
Scouting reports of the defensive tackles in the 2011 Draft.
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