6'4, 340 pounds | Defensive tackle | Baylor
Pass rush: Many will be quick to classify Taylor as a nose tackle and assume that he has a limited pass rush. However, he possesses very good quickness and the ability to shoot the gap and penetrate. Taylor shows good strength and ability to push the pocket. However, inconsistent pad level and hand usage makes him a hit or miss on passing downs. In the NFL, he may not get many opportunities on 3rd downs as his value comes with this ability to stuff the run. However his quickness, ability to disengage, and strength give him a lot of pass rush potential.
Pursuit: For a big fella, Taylor shows the skills to effectively pursue the ball carrier. I have heard some label Taylor with having a poor motor but the games I viewed show the exact opposite. He works hard to get to the football and his quickness makes him a threat to make a play. His awareness and ability to find the ball is what makes him so effective in pursuit. He also maintains good balance through the play which allows him to remain on his feet and chase the ball.
Quickness: Taylor has surprising short area explosion that allows him to get off the ball quickly. That explosion also is apparent as he closes on the ball carrier. I have been really impressed with his lateral quickness and ability to slip past the offensive line. Overall, Taylor's combination of size and quickness make him a really impressive prospect.
Run defend: The size and strength of Taylor play an important role in his ability to stuff the run. At 340lbs, Taylor is the ideal size to fill the all important nose tackle position. He has a natural bend and strong base that he uses to anchor and hold strong at the point of attack. These skills and play on the field show me that he can be an effective 2 gap defender in the NFL. I would like to see him be more consistent keeping his pad level low and using his hands better. He has a tendency to get high as the play develops which limits his leverage. Taylor doesn't always get his hands inside and arms extended. He was able to get away with that in college but in the NFL those inconsistencies will hinder his effectiveness.
Strength: Taylor has great natural strength and a very strong base. He is thick through the lower half and that allows him to absorb contact and remain balanced. Taylor has heavy and violent hands which results in delivering a strong punch. Those heavy hands also allow him to control and disengage quickly.
Tackling: The ability to quickly locate the football allows Taylor to be in good position to make a play. That awareness permits him to get to the football quickly and balanced. As he approaches the ball carrier, he is under control and finishes the play with a pop.
Technique: I would like to see Taylor maintain a low pad level through the play but he has a tendency to get high as the play progresses. However, his natural bend and good balance counteract the high pad level from time to time. As the play begins, Taylor starts low and fires off the football and does a nice job keeping his feet underneath him. The majority of the time, Taylor gets his hands inside and arms extended. However, he needs to be more consistent in this area if he wants to be effective in the NFL.
Games Viewed: Oklahoma, Illinois, Texas
Final word: Taylor is flying up my draft board. The more I watch the more impressed I am of Taylor's potential. He is the ideal candidate to fill the nose tackle role in a 3-4 defense. However, his quickness and athletic ability makes him versatile and increases his overall value. Taylor has the ability to hold strong against the run and also rush the passer. If he can improve his stamina he could develop into a 3 down defensive lineman. Right now, I would have no problem taking Taylor in the middle of the 1st round.