Prospect: Devin Taylor, DE, South CarolinaDevin Taylor

Height: 6’7”

Weight: 266 lb.

Athleticism:

  • Terrific athlete with impressive closing speed
  • Flashes burst off the snap but isn’t entirely consistent with it
  • Uncomfortable and awkward footwork in space, really struggles to change directions cleanly
  • Top heavy player with some balance issues related to his height, ends up on the ground too often
  • Rare build among defensive end prospects, still has room to fill out his frame as well

Intelligence/Effort:

  • Extremely high motor player who is always pursuing the ball until the whistle and makes a high number of hustle plays
  • Lacks great anticipation skills for play recognition and feel for the intentions of blockers
  • Very ball aware player who can find it quickly

Pass Rush:

  • Uninventive pass rusher on the edge, falls into the trap of trying to simply run past tackle around the corner all too often
  • Limited in edge rush ability by stiff hips and lack of combination moves
  • Has bullrush potential, but his power rush is criminally underutilized on tape
  • Height becomes an advantage when he utilizes an effective swim move, can easily get his arm over the top of blockers
  • Uses long arms effectively in getting them into passing lanes, can eliminate passing windows entirely

Run Support:

  • Has ability to occupy and control multiple blocker at once on the edge, can translate that inside with lower pad level and more bulk
  • Likes to split gaps when playing from the inside, does so to good effect with high motor and burst
  • Does an inconsistent job setting the edge, gets caved in too easily occasionally
  • Guilty of guessing at times, but discipline level improved steadily over the years
  • Doesn’t disengage well enough for an end with extremely long arms

Technique:

  • Fails to lower pad level on top of already being a 6’7” defensive lineman, allows blocker underneath his pads too often
  • Resistance strength fails to show up often against run and pass, strongly related to pad level
  • Can extend and create space effectively with long arms
  • Powerful and violent hands when he uses them effectively, but his overall hand usage is very undeveloped

Overall:

Devin Taylor is unlike most defensive end prospects you’ll see every year.  On top of the frame listed above, Taylor measure in at the Shrine Game with a wingspan of almost 87 inches, which is massive.  He then proceeded to dominate in the game itself, a showing not seen on the game tape.  His production in terms of sacks and tackles for loss has gradually gone down each year since his sophomore season.  The team that drafts Taylor is doing so because they think they can make him into far more than he is now.  Because right now, he’s a tweener defensive end with poor technique thriving on a big-time motor and unmatched size.  I call Taylor a tweener because he doesn’t have the flexibility or foot quickness to thrive as an edge rusher in a 4-3, but his struggles to lower his pads and a rather lean frame at the moment could limit his effectiveness as a 5 technique.  His value is probably equal for both schemes since he’s going to require development anyways.  His evaluation would be far more glowing had he progressed in the way most had hoped since his sophomore season, but that didn’t happen and now he should come off the board late in the second day or early in the third.

Originally published at DetroitLionsDraft.com: Devin Taylor Scouting Report

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