Needs to do a better job using his length and hands to dictate to blocks initially off the snap, doesn't extend his arms until well into contact and consistently allows opposing linemen to get under his frame. However, there is a definite improvement in his overall lateral quickness/balance as a pass rusher. He does display some quickness laterally for his size and his combination of size, length and power allow him to slip blocks at times off the ball and fight his way through contact one-on-one.
Exhibits the kind of lower body strength and natural get-off burst to simply overwhelm blockers at the point of attack vs. the run game. Can simply manhandle opposing linemen one-on-one inside and quickly drive his way into the backfield. Is stout at the point of attack inside and even shows the grace to cleanly move down the line, fend off a block and make his way toward the ball carrier.
However, he's still very raw, allowing his pad level again to get too high and failing to consistently extend his arms into blocks, which at times is the difference from him making the play and not. Isn't overly instinctive at this stage either and will struggle to consistently diagnose his run/pass keys quickly and find the football. Would like to see him do a better job sitting into his stance to anchor as well; it would really allow him to play much stronger inside vs. the double.
Impression: He's got a big frame, a pretty good step for his size and is really powerful both in his upper and lower body. However, technically he's slightly improved but still raw. Nevertheless, I think he's an intriguing tackle prospect because of his size and athleticism. Does have some character concerns though as well and seems like a real boom or burst kind of prospect."
Taylor's career began at Penn State, where he matriculated after being named an All-Washington, D.C. metro player in high school. He played sparingly in seven games as a true freshman (no tackles), then flashed playmaking ability as a sophomore, making 20 tackles, 6.5 for loss and three sacks in a reserve role for the Nittany Lions. After sitting out the 2008 season transferring from Happy Valley to Waco, Taylor didn't exactly light up the world in his nine starts (25 tackles, 2.5 for los, 0.5 sack, interception, two blocked kicks).
Taylor's transfer was forced by suspension, then eventual dismissal, from the Penn State football team several months after his alleged role in a fight during a fraternity function at the student union. If scouts are willing to put that incident in the past, Taylor's excellent strength and mobility for his size, and the need for dominant 3-4 nose tackles, should push his draft stock high.
Pass Rush: Though his job is usually not to provide primary pass rush, he can push the pocket with strength and flashes quickness off the snap and a swim move to get past lesser centers. Gives good effort to reach the quarterback if he sits in the pocket too long. Tries violent hands to shed blocks. Not very effective on inside twists, though he can take out the left tackle when twisting outside to free up the defensive end. Once stood up by initial contact, it's tough for him to re-start his rush.
Run Defense: Shows excellent strength and mobility as a run defender. Plays with leverage against double-teams and keeps his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. Pushes back his man and spins off single and tandem blocks with balance to make the play. Moves down the line well, stays low despite his height to wrap up shorter backs. Willing and able to reach the sideline, takes deep angles to prevent huge runs. Defeats cut blocks and maintains balance to track down ballcarriers. Gets low in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Does not dominate smaller centers. At his best when used in a rotation.
Explosion: Explodes from four-point stance into blockers, consistently getting push up front. Gets off low and quick near goal line to set the line backwards. Despite his size, flashes the quickness to penetrate the "A" gap. Requires double-teams to keep him out of the backfield.
Strength: Huge frame and upper-body development give him the strength to be a 3-4 nose tackle at the next level. Moves offensive linemen to either side with relative ease when covering two gaps. Forces fumbles with one hand punching at the ball while ballcarrier comes through the hole. Uses leverage to hold the line against double teams.
Tackling: Running backs get swallowed up when crossing his path, and he can separate the ball from a ballcarrier with pure strength. Stays low despite his height and will capture backs from behind if they have not yet hit their stride. Chase and hustle are impressive for his size, will chase backs down the line, help linebackers make stops at the second level, and takes deep angles to chase down running backs 20 yards down the sideline.
Intangibles: Sprained his knee in 2007 preseason at Penn State, losing starting job to future first-round pick Jared Odrick. Charged with felony aggravated assault during a fraternity function at a Penn State student union in October 2007; the charge was eventually dropped. Really turned up his game the second half of 2010; scouts could see that as maturity or wonder if he can maintain that level of play.
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."
Taylor was a four star recruit and one of the top defensive tackles who landed at Penn State after finishing up at Gwynn Park High School. Taylor transferred to Baylor after being kicked off of the Penn State football team in 2008.
Taylor’s size and strength are exceptional. At 6’4 338 pounds, he has the ability to play either 3-4 nose tackle, or as a five technique if he really wanted to. He’s shown a nice ability to penetrate and has good quickness despite his bulk. Taylor is a natural space eater who has long arms and does a great job holding the point of attack. He has quick enough feet to move well laterally, and he controls offensive lineman sometimes throwing them around like they are nothing.
Ultimately, Taylor’s past could come back to haunt him. He was suspended, and then booted off of the Penn State football team because of an alleged fraternity fight in which he was involved in. His lack of production is somewhat worrisome, although playing the nose tackle position won’t rack up the big time stats, as they are generally gap stuffers. He has been known to take plays off and is pretty much restricted to the nose tackle position.
Taylor’s stock is rising, and rising fast. His Senior Bowl practices and game performance was among the tops out of all of the players, and finding true 3-4 nose tackles is not easy. Again, with more and more teams converting to the 3-4 defense, the demand for nose guards and defensive ends that can take up space is rising. Taylor could be off of the board in the second round to a team like Buffalo, Kansas City, Arizona, New England, or even Pittsburgh with Casey Hampton aging.
NFL Comparison: Antonio Garay "
Positive: King-sized defensive lineman who moves well about the field and can dominate the line of scrimmage. Bends his knees, plays with good pad level, and flashes power. Overruns offensive linemen, tosses aside blockers, and plays with good quickness. Keeps his feet moving up the field, fluid changing direction, and is tough to move from his angle of attack. Displays good punch with his hands and knocks blockers away with ease. Better-than-average lateral movement skills.
Negative: Has had a weight problem in the past that resulted in his benching during the 2009 season. Marginally instinctive on the field. Possesses limited moves and does not use his hands well.
Analysis: Taylor has proven to be a dominant force and possesses a terrific combination of size, strength, and athleticism. He has the skills to be used in a variety of systems and the versatility to line up at a number of positions on the defensive line. He offers good upside but comes with character questions and must prove his outstanding 2010 campaign was not an aberration."
Negatives: Marginal lateral mobility... Seems to struggle trying to maintain low pad level, plays a little too high at times... Rises almost instantly off the snap... Doesn't always keep his head up as he pushes into the backfield... Inconsistent... Not very instinctive... Lacks range... Doesn't always give a good effort... Not a hard worker... Conditioning issues, wears down late in games... Gets too heavy, has been as high as 385 lbs... Durability concerns, missed first nine games of 2007 season with knee injury... Dismissed from Penn St. with academic issues and for his involvement in an off-campus fight... Rebuilt draft stock following poor 2009 season (played through turf toe)... Still raw, a boom or bust type prospect."
Strengths: Huge, powerful, natural NT. When he stays low, can stack the point, is impossible to move off the ball, and can split the double team. Strong arms and hands, and keeps blockers off of his body. Nice swim, spin and shed. Excellent quickness and athleticism for a man of his size. Keeps feet and can run laterally, and even drops some in zone-blitz situations. Aware to screens and draws, and will make some tackles in pursuit outside of the box. Quick off the ball as a pass rusher and gets push, and is light on his feet and athletic enough to stunt & twist. Used some as a FB in short yardage situations. Much more focused and dedicated in 2010; "lost" weight down to 340lbs, and appears much leaner and quicker with much more stamina. Good upside.
Weaknesses: Has been in trouble off the field and was kicked out of Penn State's program following the 2007 season. Has ballooned up to well over 360lbs (as recently as 2009) and his play suffers dramatically when not in shape.
Projection: If he remains focused and stays clean off the field, should be a second or third-round pick. All indications are that immaturity is behind him, so he has a chance to be an excellent starter on the nose a season or two down the road."
Taylor has the physical tools to be a solid tackle at the next level, but he needs to be productive during his senior season with the Bears to boost his draft stock. So far Taylor is doing just that. Through seven games he already has tallied a career high 28 tackles and added 5.0 tackles-for-loss, one sack and one forced fumble. Taylor is Baylor's clog in the middle of the defense and is beginning to live up to his potential.
He will need to keep it up the rest of the 2010 campaign to make scouts take notice. Taylor has decent quickness and strength at the point of attack, but it is likely that he will need to have a good NFL Combine to really grab some attention. He can move up to the third round area if all goes well, but he will probably stay a late to mid-round prospect."
Phil Taylor is astonishingly athletic for such a Beast!!
Simply put: This guy is raw as hell, but he commands an amazing fusion of Size, Athleticism, and Strength.
I see no need to dance around it: He is a Super Beast, and while he carries some risk, his upside is IMMENSE.
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