Games Evaluated: 2019 Vs: Washington, Stanford, Washington State
Report By: Roy Countryman
Q.A.B. / C.O.D.: 8.20
Playing Speed: 8.20
Position Versatility: 7.20
Excellent athlete that just happens to play LB. He has a long, lanky build that gets enhanced due to his speed. He has a basketball and track background and has dynamic straight-line speed to range from sideline to sideline in a hurry. His fluidity, length, and speed allow him to be able to open hips and stay step for step with TEs with ease. Has quick twitch fibers throughout, and the ankle flexion to be able to stay on the balls of his feet to flow and fit effortlessly laterally. Does not show great bend though as a pass rusher. His closing burst is eye-catching. He can get from zero to top speed in an instant, and with that speed, he brings very good velocity on contact. He has terrific lateral agility which showcased at the combine in agility tests. Even with all that speed, he does not fly around the field without discipline. He keeps his shoulders square over his feet and keeps himself in a position to be able to flow freely laterally. He primarily lined up as an OLB in a 4-3 scheme but also was deployed as an ILB in a 3-4.
PASS RUSH ABILITY: 6.60
Initial Quickness: 6.80
Rush with Leverage: 6.50
Pass Rush Moves: 6.50
Pressure Consistency: 6.60
Does not have an elite first step as a pass rusher, but is better at timing up his blitzes. In run defense doesn't take false steps reads and reacts in short order. Understands how to use leverage when taking on a block, and has good strength in his hands to try and shed, but due to a lack of bulk, he will struggle to disengage once an OL latches onto him. Is not a pure pass rusher, and lacks a wide variety of moves coming off the edge. He does show good timing though when called to delayed blitz, and will simply overcome RBs trying to block him. On his limited opportunities to blitz, he displayed impeccable timing and used his speed, but is in no way a consistent pass-rushing force.
Pass Drops: 7.50
Coverage Awareness: 7.30
M/M Coverage: 7.40
Zone Coverage: 7.60
Keenly aware of route concepts and depth in his pass drops. He uses his length to disrupt passing windows and has the speed to make up for any mistake in recognizing where the pass is going. Keys in on pre-snap WR groupings, and is terrific at communicating what he sees with his fellow defenders. He shows a good feel of when and where to drop down in zone, but in man coverage he needs to be more aware of where the ball is. HIs length and aggressiveness flash when he is matched up with TEs on LOS. Is willing to jam TE, and then he has the leg up for the duration of the route due to his terrific length, fluidity, and speed. He needs to show better ball awareness though because at times he struggles to get his head around which led to penalties. Highly intelligent in his drops in zone, understands route concepts and will put himself in a spot to make a play on the ball.
AGAINST THE RUN: 7.24
Play with Leverage: 6.50
Stack and Shed: 6.80
Run at Him: 7.50
Runs Away: 7.80
Understands how to use leverage when taking on a block, and has good strength in his hands to try and shed, but due to a lack of bulk, he will be at a disadvantage of strength and bulk against OL. Uses his length to keep from blockers getting to his core which negates them using their entire package of power. Aggressively fills rushing lanes and makes RBs reassess cutting his way because he is able to lay some bone-jarring hits if able to square up. Disciplined with his backside pursuit, and will not allow cutback lanes to present themselves. He will hustle to the ball until he hears the whistle blow. Sure tackler who utilizes proper technique, the only time he misses tackles is when he flies by them because of over pursuit.
Willing to do the dirty work and scrap inside against OL who outweigh him consistently. Loves the little things that go into playing the LB position. Production is not eye-popping, but when you put on the tape he is always around the ball and will be a player who will have better stats on Sunday than when he was in college. High revving motor that plays all 60 minutes. He ranges sideline to sideline consistently and his stamina is incredible, never leaves the field.
Very good feel for where the play is flowing to, especially when you take into account he didn't get to play actual games in high school. He would practice with the team all week, but then due to religious beliefs would not play on gameday. Quick learner and doesn't make the same mistake twice. Picks up on how offensive players are trying to use his aggressiveness against him and will tone down his pursuit to not overrun plays. Driven individual who feels he has a purpose playing on the gridiron. Is willing to work, sacrifice, and do whatever is need to succeed.
Long and lanky, off the ball pursuit LB is where he will be a playmaking force for the team that drafts him. He has a decorated career in track and field and you can tell with his rare straight-line speed, but he also has the hip fluidity to mirror and match in man coverage. He uses sound tackling mechanics to corral a ton of run stops and TFL. His play recognition and diagnostic abilities are quick and it allows him to flow sideline to sideline beating ball carriers to their spots. Is willing to come down aggressively and fill rushing lanes even taking on blocks to allow his teammates to succeed.
While his wiry was able to stand up against college-level players, he will need to supplement his build with quality bulk and strength to take on blocks. Needs to continually refine his pass awareness in man coverage as he struggles to get his head around. Is still somewhat raw in some of the small nuances of the position due to a lack of reps in high school, so he is only scratching the surface of what his skill set can be.
Taylor is an uber athlete that is fun to watch range all over the field with his outstanding speed, and his coverage abilities will endear him to talent evaluators at the next level as he will be able to be an impactful defender on all 4 downs. I know he still has some areas of his game that need more refinement, but at this point, I think he has high value as a 2nd round prospect and could outplay his draft positioning in a few years with quality coaching and growth. His playing style reminds me of Darius Leonard.