The Lions select Devin Taylor, DE South Carolina
(Boo, Boo, run Martinez)
Taylor redshirted his first year in Columbia after helping his high school team win a South Carolina state title with 10 sacks (he was also the state champion in the triple jump that year). He played well enough in 12 games in 2009 (starting the first five games, missed one due to a bruised sternum) to land on SEC coaches’ freshman all-conference squad (28 tackles, 5.5 for loss, two sacks). He had a breakout sophomore season, starting all 14 games and accumulating 13 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, and leading the team with eight pass breakups, receiving second-team All-SEC honors from league coaches. SEC media named Taylor first-team all-conference in 2010 and awarded him honorable mention accolades in his junior year even though his numbers decreased (8.5 tackles for loss, six sacks). He did have a strong effort (five tackles, two tackles for loss, sack) against Nebraska in the team’s Capital One Bowl victory. Taylor has returned both his career interceptions for touchdowns -– 24 yards against Tennessee in 2010 and 48 yards against Arkansas in 2011. As a senior in 2012, Taylor saw his sack number decline even further as he managed just three sacks. He matched his junior year total of 8.5 tackles for loss, and also managed to bat down six passes.
Taylor possess an ideal athletic frame for a strong-side defensive end. He stands at 6-foot-7, weighs 275 pounds, and it appears as if his frame is far from maxed out. Long strides can eat up grass quickly once he gets started. Fights through the B-gap on inside rushes. Height, length and big hands make him capable of regularly knocking down passes or at least obscuring his vision.
Height and long legs prevent him from having elite short-area agility, change of direction ability, and closing speed. Often times can be lethargic in coming off the ball. Stands up almost immediately off the snap. Takes time to rip off blocks with long arms and slower hands, can be moved out of the hole by better linemen. Lacks flexibility to keep his balance while turning the corner. Shorter defenders can easily pop his chest, also gets knocked off his pass rush route (or to the ground) due to his height. Needs to use his length to full advantage, extending his arms to keep distance from tackles.
Taylor has spent much of his time getting overshadowed by players like Melvin Ingram and Jadaveon Clowney. While Taylor is a physical specimen in his own right, he does not display proper quickness or pad level in order to be a consistent starting player in the NFL. However, Taylor is a player that isn't a stranger to hustle, and his length will make him an intriguing target to a team that thinks they can fix his pad level and pass rushing technqiue. Perhaps more intriguing however is the fact that his frame does not appear to be maxed out yet. It seems as if he can easily get to around 300 pounds, without sacrificing athleticism, which could interest 32 teams.
The next team is on the clock lol.