2020 NFL Draft: Darrell Taylor Prospect Review

  • Name (#): Darrell Taylor (#19)
  • Position: EDGE
  • College: Tennessee
  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 267 lbs
  • 40-time: N/A 
  • Length: 33 inches
  • Career Statistics: 118 Tackles, 26.5 TFL’s, 19.5 Sacks, 6 FF, 4 FR
  • Season Statistics: 46 Tackles, 10 TFL’s, 8.5 Sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR
  • Games played: 43
  • Games started: 29
  • Games watched: Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Missouri
  • Prepared by: Nathan Papandrea

Summary (By Nathan Papandrea)

Darrell Taylor, is a 29-game starter that first started seeing meaningful playing time in his red-shirt sophomore season. His 6’4″, 267-pound frame thoroughly passes the eye test, as he possesses a chiseled build with the necessary body mass to hold up against NFL tackles. In Tennessee’s front, he has experience coming out of both a two- and three-point stance, on and off the ball. Of his 634 snaps in 2019, 32 were as an off-ball linebacker.

Darrell Taylor sets a firm edge in the run game and is adept at mitigating outside run paths and forcing them in between the tackles. To do that, he comes out of his stance leveraged and fires his 33-inch arms into the chest plate of the opposing lineman’s shoulder pads. He can activate his outside hand in order to force the offensive lineman to turn into the run lane. He has the play strength to stack tackles, and he flashes the arsenal needed to maneuver around contact. His effort on the backside of run plays is laudable. On several occasions throughout his film, his closing speed and burst have allowed him to chase down ball carriers and utilize his plus motor. Taylor’s tackle radius is wide, and he takes deliberate angles in pursuit. In the passing game he has above average athletic ability, which allows him to challenge tackles up the vertical arc. Once he gets there, he has the fluidity and flexion to turn the corner sharply, as his feet stay dug into the ground, which negates floating off his rush path. The flexion in his ankles and fluidity in his hips also allow him to change directions and attack the corners of opposing linemen. Taylor showcases the ability to sink his hips and bend, and that skill-set projects well to his role at the NFL level. He is an absolute mismatch against guards because he is fast at pressing interior linemen who hinge too early in their jump sets.

Taylor is adept at winning inside hands against opposing linemen. While that is encouraging, he rarely uses those opportunities and makes plays on a ball carrier, which is reflected in his 4.5% run stop percentage, per Pro Football Focus. That’s well below average. Playing within the scheme is great, but at a premium position like edge rusher, you want play-makers. He will win the hand battle but rarely use that victory to make a stop on the ball carrier. He sets a firm edge but seemingly becomes complacent by accepting stalemates at the point of attack. A way that he can turn these situations into run stops is if he becomes more explosive out of his stance. If he becomes more explosive off the snap and learns the shedding aspect of run defense, his ability to cause disruption would be heightened due to the opponent being unable to react to the rapidity and polish in his process.  As a pass rusher, he flashes top-level abilities, yet he needs refinement in a few key areas in order for him to maximize his potential in this area. Though he flashes dominance, a lack of varied hand moves and counters makes him predictable as a pass rusher. He utilizes the rip and bull rush quite often, but he is often found without a rush plan. Taylor cannot often be seen reacting to the hands of the offensive lineman and seemingly has trouble taking advantage of errors in their set points. Throughout his film, it is easy to see that everything he needs to thrive in this area at the next level is there. However, he needs to become more aware as a pass rusher, vary his arsenal, and take advantage of offensive line tells because they are brought upon him during the rep.

Narrated Video Breakdowns by Erik Turner