Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor Bears
40-Time: (NFL Scouting Combine Time Feb. 23 - Mar. 1 to be added)
There are many teams looking for a prospect with size that can play the nose tackle position in the ever-popular 3-4 defense. At 337 pounds, Taylor gives teams that size, but as an added bonus he also gives them rare speed for a man at 330+ pounds.
His size allows him to hold his ground against the many double teams he faces. He's able to anchor down and take care of two offensive linemen, and this frees up other defenders or allows him to make a play if the ball carrier comes within reach. Taylor has a knack for spinning off offensive linemen a few seconds before the ball carrier gets to him to make the play.
Phil gets good leverage when he's making initial contact with the opposition. If he decides to get to the quarterback on any particular play, he can use a brutal bull rush. He uses his strength to just punch the lineman out of the way and then gets his 337 pounds going full speed ahead like a locomotive. If he speed rushes, he attempts to get the lineman on his hip and then uses violent arms/hands movement to get separation between the two players.
As you can imagine, when a player has this size and speed combination, there will always be the question of stamina. Taylor can disappear at different points of the game if he doesn't have a steady rotation during the game. He'll need to go to a team that has other talented nose tackles to put Phil on a rotation and keep him fresh.
I mentioned the way he gets his weight going forward as if a locomotive, but the negative is I've never seen a train going full speed just stop on a dime or change direction at a 60 degree angle. With the agile quarterbacks in the NFL, a quick side step could easily avoid a Taylor sack.
I also wonder after watching him annihilate a left guard on film by just bull rushing him with amazing speed and then he hitting him with a quick right punch that allows him to be the draped over the quarterback, why doesn't he go back to this. Is it stamina and he only has one of those in him a game? Or does he just not realize how critically effective this weapon was?
Taylor was suspended from Penn State after he allegedly participated in a fight at a fraternity event. He was later dismissed after being charged with a felony of aggravated assault. The charges were later dropped and he transferred to Baylor. He had to sit out a year as per NCAA transfer rules.te.
Before Taylor left Penn State, his stats over his last year there were actually quite impressive. When he came to Baylor, most people thought that his stat line would be far more eye catching. What people aren't taking into account is that Baylor doesn't have the talent around Taylor that Penn State did. Yet, they still face some of the top offensive linemen in the country in the Big 12 from schools like Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas A&M, etc. At Penn State he could have NFL caliber talent like Jared Odrick playing next to him to take away some of the double teams and pressure. At Baylor he faced more double teams against NFL-caliber interior lineman.
The 3-4 defense is again all the rage in the NFL. The nose tackle position is the foundation of this defense. So many teams are looking for that rock to place there. You actually need at least two talented nose tackles that are able to relieve each other. This drives up the value of a Phil Taylor due to the rarity of this type of player. When you factor in the size, speed, and strength of Taylor, you instantly see that it sums up to a 1st round value..
Did I forget to mention that Phil Taylor squats 665 pounds and can bench 455 pounds? I doubt that he'll be lifting offensive lineman over his head...but it's good to know that he can.
Potential NFL Team, Round
It's obvious that I think Taylor is a first-round talent. How high he goes is up to the 3-4 teams. Kansas City surprised everybody when they took Tyson Jackson third overall a few years ago. This just reinforces the importance of 3-4 defensive linemen. It's never too early to take them.
I think the San Diego Chargers with the 18th pick are the first team that might actually try and make Taylor the cornerstone of their defense. If he makes it pass them, then divisional foe Kansas City Chiefs may take Taylor earlier than expected with the 21st pick.
I think the better value for Taylor, though, is to the New England Patriots at 28, the Jets at 29 or the Pittsburgh Steelers at 31. If the draft was today, I believe the Steelers would be drafting Casey Hampton's replacement by selecting Taylor. To do that, though, he would have to make it past New England with their aging defensive line and knack for knowing what the New York Jets want/need and stealing it from underneath their noses, like defensive signals.
Jayson Braddock appears on Sports Radio 790 AM in Houston, TX, every Thursday morning at 11:19 am CST as the football insider on the Dylan Gwinn show. He's a graduate of the Sports Management World Wide Football GM & Scouting Course and has been mentored by former NFL player / executive John Wooten and Sporting News.com NFL Draft Expert Russ Lande. His work is mostly appreciated by die-hard fans interested in every little detail about their team and not just watered down mainstream talk. - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports7910.com. You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ JaysonBraddock
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