Next up, Baylor nose tackle Phil Taylor. The big man from Washington DC had an up and down college career but finished strong with his best collegiate season as a senior.
At 6’3’’ 334 lbs, Taylor is a space eater who can anchor a defensive line. Primarily a run stopper, Taylor is an above-average tackler who’s 62 recorded tackles his senior season were the most by a Baylor interior lineman since 2002. He is strong and demands double teams because of his initial punch. Taylor is generally successful in double teams and is almost impossible to blow off the line. One of his greatest strengths is his violent hands. Combined with his jump off the ball, he can push a line backwards, and will collapse a pocket from the middle if the QB holds onto the ball for too long. His footwork is also good which helps him in his pass rush. While he isn’t an overpowering pass rusher, that is to be expected. He has a nice powerful swim move, and can rip through double teams if he can establish leverage.
He showed this ability at the Senior Bowl. He was disruptive, taking on double teams and freeing up his linebackers. His footwork and frame is probably good enough to move to the 5 technique at some point, but I don’t think he has the stamina or technique to stay outside for more than selective schemes/situations.
Throughout his career Taylor’s conditioning was one of the main critiques of his game, however, like I mentioned yesterday, he looked strong throughout the day at the combine. Finally, a number of sources have noted his maturation and change of character since he was arrested on assault charges stemming from a fight at a frat party at Penn State. I think it’s a safe assumption that he won that fight.
On the negative side of things, concerns over weight management always follow players at this size. Another common problem that Taylor shares with other big men is his lack of speed and quickness, again this will probably keep him on the inside of the line. Additionally, his size prevents him from making many tackle outside of the tackle box. Other than weight concerns, questions about his height and lack of leverage follow Taylor around as well. At 6’3 he can come to high and has some issues if a center is able to get under his pads. To this point, he also has a hard time generating momentum if he is stopped at the initial point of attack. While a decent pass rusher for his size and position, he will need to improve his collection of moves.
I like Phil Taylor, I really do; he will be an interesting prospect to keep an eye out for as Draft Day inches closer. While “raw talent” is something that the Jets may want to stray clear of this draft, especially in the first round, this guy could become the second coming of Kris Jenkins.