DE Devin Taylor (South Carolina) - Round 4, Pick No. 132
The Detroit Lions went into the final day of the draft with one new defensive end (Ezekiel Ansah in the first round), and they decided to add another one by taking South Carolina's Devin Taylor in the fourth round. Taylor gives the Lions a pair of rookies to go along with Jason Jones, Willie Young and Ronnell Lewis at the position.
Taylor was named first-team All-SEC by the Associated Press as a sophomore in 2010.
What the experts are saying
Taylor has spent much of his time getting overshadowed by players like Melvin Ingram and Jadeveon 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 technique. 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.
Over the last few seasons, South Carolina has churned out DEs, ala Melvin Ingram, and Devin fits the mold to be an impact player. He has a great physical presence to go along with the agility to make an immediate impact in the NFL. He is long and strong, so matching up physically should not be an issue. Where he needs drastic improvement is his understanding of his assignments and being more consistent in finding the football to make plays. He is seen as a possible OLB by some but his height make it very difficult for him to adjust in space or if being asked to cover. He is best suited to add a few pounds and stay at DE when getting into the league. During his first few seasons he should be at his best as a situational pass rusher which will allow him to use his natural burst at the snap and make an impact.
Taylor dominated the week of the East-West Shrine game with his motor and range. He has adequate bend and closing speed, but he doesn't have to get home to make an impact as a pass-rusher. He has the long arms and vertical jump to gets his hands on passes at the line of scrimmage. At 6-foot-7, he plays a little high and can give ground as a run defender, though he is tougher than strong at the point.
2009: 28 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
2010: 46 tackles, 13.0 TFL, 7.5 sacks, 1 INT, 9 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery, 1 TD
2011: 42 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 6.0 sacks, 1 INT, 3 passes defended, 1 TD
2012: 45 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks, 6 passes defended
- Taylor vs. Kentucky (2012)
- Taylor vs. Vanderbilt (2012)
- Taylor vs. UAB (2012)
- Taylor vs. Georgia (2011)
- Taylor vs. Alabama/Georgia
- Taylor vs. Kentucky/Auburn
- Taylor vs. Nebraska/Clemson
- Taylor interception return for touchdown vs. Arkansas
- Taylor highlights from 2011 season
Outlook for 2013
Taylor should see a lot of playing time in the rotation at defensive end. Jones and Ansah are expected to start, but Taylor should get on the field plenty as a backup. I'd imagine he could see time on special teams as well.