Devin Taylor Scouting Report

February 9th, 2013

Devin Taylor has great length but underdeveloped skills

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Prospect: Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina
Height: 6’7”
Weight: 275 lbs
Grade: 6.42 (Grading Scale)

Scouting Report:

Athleticism:
+Terrific athlete with impressive closing speed
+Rare build among defensive end prospects, still has room to fill out his frame as well
+/-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

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

Pass Rush:
+/-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
-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

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:
+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
-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

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.–Darren Page

Scouting Notes:
South Carolina vs. Michigan
• Shoots off the snap quickly, the running back gets a piece of him as Devin Gardner rolls out, Taylor gets off block and forced a hurried throw
• Left unblocked with the running back to beat, doesn’t hesitate this time but fails to break down as Gardner leaves the pocket and just misses
• Finds space on an inside stunt against a run to the other side, chases down the ball carrier well
• Gets underneath right tackle’s pads well and sees an outside chip coming, spins back inside and knock tackle off balance perfectly, tackle grabs on and holds him
• Swims the blocker on a run coming right at him instead of stacking him straight up at the line, running back runs through the inside gap
• Takes too wide of a track on an inside draw, redirects and pursues Denard Robinson from behind and still makes the play behind the line
• Left unblocked on a read option, stays patient and gets in on the tackle
• Beats tackle inside gap and reroutes the running back early
• Left unblocked with running back to beat again, takes direct route to quarterback and whiffs when he takes off
• Nice effort plays to pursue the ball after the pitch on a speed option, ends up making the tackle when the back cuts upfield

South Carolina vs. LSU
• Unable to disengage and make the play on a run where the back goes right past him
• Fights off a block and makes first contact on the running back inside the five yard line
• Flashes strong hands to push blocker back against an inside run, stones the back at the line
• Push fullback back and forces Michael Ford to cut upfield, great job of edge-setting
• Fails to keep outside shoulder free and gets caved in by a tight end on an outside run
• Stops his feet and gets pancaked by a fullback on a kickout block
• Fails to anticipate a down block from the tight end a gap to his outside, gets washed down and out of the play too easily

South Carolina vs. Arkansas
• Left unblocked on a play action rollout, smart play to occupy the running back going out in his route
• Occupies multiple blockers well on the edge, frees a linebacker to flow over the top and make the tackle on a sweep
• Leaves his feet on a Tyler Wilson pump fake, easy to neutralize for the blocking back after he comes down
• Instinctively recognizes play action when unblocked and beats it straight for Wilson, forces a quick throw-away
• Multiple successful speed rushes around the corner against a slow offensive tackle, simply running right past him
• Sheds edge block well but can’t quite get to the ball carrier
• Makes the right tackle look silly with a terrific inside swim move
• Fails to break down in space and ends up on his ass on a swing pass trying to change directions

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